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Daniel Abraham: The Price of Spring

This is the fourth and final volume of the Long Price Quartet fantasy series, of which I have previously reviewed the first three volumes. Basically everything I said about the other books continues to hold true; it’s totally character-driven (almost all plot developments occur because someone acted or reacted in a manner wholly consistent with their personality) in a really nice way. The life paths of the two major characters continue to diverge (and it’s now 45 years since the series started), with the marked difference in their fortunes simultaneously being no one’s fault (good/bad luck) and totally their fault (it is the result of their decisions and actions). The plot is very well done, and brings the series to a conclusion with a fitting climax, but is almost secondary to the exploration of how these characters ended up as they did. I actually found books 2 and 3 to be the most successful (as with book 3, I though there was a slight sag between the point where you can see what the denouement is going to be and when it actually occurs), but that’s to praise this one with faint damnation. The whole series is great, and is a really nice demonstration of what you can do in the wide genre of “fantasy” without feeling the need to go down the whole elves-and-knights epic fantasy route.

Of course, the series didn’t end up selling that well (Tor didn’t even release this fourth volume in paperback, so I recommend you pick up the 2 UK omnibi, titled Shadow and Betrayal and Seasons of War), and perhaps in response, Abraham has recently released the first volume, The Dragon’s Path, of his new series — which is epic fantasy. It kind of feels like a retreat, but I’m sure it’ll be great (though I’ll probably wait until I can read it all at once).

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