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Swarmthief's Dance
Book I of the Swarmthief Trilogy

by Deborah J Miller

      Dragonflies aren't commonly found in fantasy novels, but here are a whole swarm of them. The Shemari priests have a special caste called the Bakkujasi who can ride these swarms, but to even think that they can lay eggs is a heresy punishable by death or exile. When a boy called Vivrecki starts behaving strangely, it looks as though he is the missing Snoot, son of a swarm rider and after his insistence that these eggs exist, a dangerous heretic. But there is more to these eggs than meets the eye, and it all has to do with an exiled group of demi goddesses.

I do love fantasy that springs some surprises, and although a lot of this is fairly standard sword-and-sorcery fare, I enjoyed the dragonfly swarms. Fantasy must be judged more on its creator's ability to create believable worlds that work than on anything else, and this one works well. We are on familiar territory with the classic tale of a country lad who appears suddenly to have magic, power-hungry clerics and demonic deities. But again with fantasy "it ain't what you do it's the way that you do it" was never more true and this is done well. What pleased me even more was the lack of purely good or evil characters; here are a very gray bunch of more believable folk with failings, virtues and vices. What pleased me most? The modest length of the novel; it is far too small to use as a doorstop, unusual for a fantasy. I look forward to book two.

The Book

Tor (Macmillan UK)
2 September 2005
Trade Paperback
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The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2005
© 2005