I'm surprised that there aren't more reviews of this book here. It seems popular and I was in a queue of 13 people in december 06 before I found it in a used bookstore. I picked it up because Kim Harrison (whose Hollows series I have enjoyed), is the pseudonym of Dawn Cook. This series is very different from that one though and is more geared towards a fantasy/YA audience.
Alissa has lost her father at a young age, and has grown up with her mother in the foothills. She is half-plains and half-foothills and because there is a great deal of animosity between the two she is outcast by both. Alissa works on a farm but has a habit of staying up all night looking at a certain direction. Something is pulling her, and her mother is sure that Alissa has inherited her father's magical abilities. One day her mother packs up her things and sends Alissa out of the house towards a place called the Hold, but Alissa is convinced that magic does not exist and does not want to go. Unfortunately she has no choice and has to hurry in order to avoid winter. On her way she meets a plainsman named Strell and while they do not get along they become reluctant travelling companions. Meanwhile the Hold is under the power of a Keeper named Bailic who has killed off all other Keeper's and who has killed Alissa's father as well. He is in search of a book under Alissa's father's keeping called the "First Truth" and will do anything to obtain it.
This was an enjoyable read, though Alissa and Strell seem quite young and naive at times, and are often having silly arguments. The book is also the first of a series so the end leaves a lot open, and the speed of the book seems slower to me than it possibly needed to be; a lot of time was spent over arguments between Alissa and Strell, their trip to the Hold, their day to day activities in the Hold.. but then, this probably makes the story more realistic as well that their adventures are not wrapped up quickly and easily. I will continue and read the next book - Hidden Truth.
Fantasy novel with a few uniquer twists. I liked it a lot, and plan on reading the rest of the series.
First in the 'Truth' fantasy series. A young woman is sent by her mother to The Hold, which her long-gone father used to tell her stories about--magic, Keepers, raku--surely these things weren't actually REAL? Now her mother sends her on her way, certain that Alissa has inherited her father's magical powers. Along the way, Alissa meets Strell, a young plainsman returning from the coast, who has just learned that his entire family and his home were washed away in a flash flood five years ago. All the while Alissa continues to deny her magical heritage, she begins to experience things that couldn't be explained EXCEPT by magic. And what will they do once they reach the Hold? Excellent first book in series with an interesting world, well-fleshed characters and enough of a cliff-hanger ending that you want to move on to the next one and soon!
Alissa, the plucky young heroine who discovers her own unknown magic on a quest to find her father's magical heritage, and Strell, the young bard who comes along for the adventure and then comes to care for Alissa, are cute. But they can be naive and just the slightest bit annoying at times. Possibly because there's a bit of a Regency romance feel to the teenage relationship here that doesn't always mesh with the sorcerous fantasy plotline. (Think of an ingenue who blushes and stamps her feet when she gets mad but then still has the mental control to discover and direct her magic.)
And the big secret about the what the dread Raku really are is handled kind of awkwardly. I don't want to give away too much of the plot, but suffice it to say there's way too much foreshadowing, so the final twist is really no surprise. You already pretty much know what's coming, and then the great revelation comes as part of tidying up loose ends quickly at the end of the story.
But, all that said, I still have high hopes for this series and I'm going to stick with it!
Dawn Cook's later "Princess" series is just SO well done that I'm willing to cut the author some slack here and go on faith that each book in this earlier series will be better than the last. Authors have to have license to grow, I guess.
PS what's with the 30-something blonde on the cover of this book? the Alissa character is clearly way younger; the illustration just seemed weirdly unrelated to the story
I initially picked it up because of the gorgeous cover, but I wasn't sure I would like it, since I haven't been in the mood for fantasy lately. But I opened it and started to read, and I'm glad I did. I found this story to be greatly entertaining. The heroine, Alissa, is refreshingly realistic -- magically gifted, yes, perhaps even extraordinarily so, but still recognizably a nineteen-year-old girl, and subject to the impetuousness of youth. She makes mistakes, and she has a fierce temper, but she is ultimately an extremely likeable and sympathetic character.
As far as world-building goes -- well, we don't see a whole lot of the world, just a small section of it: the plains and the foothills. (And this makes sense, for our viewpoint character, Alissa, grew up in the foothills and has never been far from home before. This area is the only one she knows.) However, that small section is richly detailed, and the prejudice and mistrust between the two groups vividly drawn.
My only complaint about this book is that it ended far too quickly; the story wasn't finished yet! The resolution of the plot is delayed for future books -- but fortunately there are already three sequels published. This was a delightful read that kept me turning the pages. I recommend it for every fantasy-lover who just wants to read a good story!
I have enjoyed this book and the others that follow so much that I have reread this series several times. For me even on the reread they were hard to put down.
I just finished the last of the book in this series and they will surely be on my keeper shelf!
This books starts with Allyssa being basically kicked out of her home. The reasons are sound and you will learn more as you read along. This author has twists and turns as she unveils more and more of this wonderful fantasy adventure. The human (and I use the word lightly) interactions are very insiteful and not always pleasant. But you can't have a story without a problem. In each book of the series it has intreging dilemmas that I wouldn't have predicted at all. I admit I couldn't wait for the books on PBS and went out and bought the last three. Please....give this series a chance!!
I found this book somewhat annoying. The main characters spend all their time fighting and getting on each other's nerves.
I have enjoyed this author and enjoyed this story and the others in this series.
Alissa is a headstrong, pragmatic child of the foothills, whose father has been missing since she was five. One morning her mother announces that Alissa must journey to the Hold, the magical place of stories her papa had told her, where gifted people are trained to be Keepers by the mysterious Masters. Her mother has seen signs that Alissa has inherited her father's talents and must be trained. Against her will, Alissa sets out across the prewinter plains. She meets Strell, a light-hearted minstrel who has a penchant for irritating her, but who has a map. A partnership is born. Neither partner knows that at the Hold the evil Bailic has dispatched the Masters and murdered the Keepers--Alissa's father among them. Bailic wants the book of First Truth, and to rule the land with it. When Alissa and Strell arrive, Bailic soon comprehends that one of them can help him find the book. A beautifully told, simple story that looks unblinkingly at how prejudice unnecessarily reinforces misconceptions, misunderstandings, and hatred. Paula Luedtke
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This was defiantly an entertaining read. I really enjoyed the pace the story kept. There really was never a bored moment and the characters were engaging. I liked the fantasy element as well as the bit of action that was thrown in. Finished it in a day.
Alissa doesn't believe in magic. Her father's stories about the Hold, a legendary fortress where human Keepers learn magic from the enigmatic Masters, are just that - stories. But her mother insists that Alissa has inherited her father's magical ability, and so she must go to the Hold-the only place her talents can be trained.
I haven't even finished this book. I just don't care. There are some funny parts. Overall I just really don't care enough to continue reading.