Excellent. Entirely wonderful. Absorbing. Fantastic.
Beautifully written, engaging, richly textured, one of those books that transports you to its universe and leaves you reluctant to turn the pages knowing that it will end all too soon. I can't recommend this book highly enough!
One of my top 3-most-memorable books ever read. Incredibly rich detail, imagery, emotional content, character, dialogue. Excellent!! I read the hardback from a library years ago which had a map in the flyleaf. Hopefully the paperback has this map. It helps place the action because a lot of travel is involved.
Maia - a simple but instinctively brave and generous girl whose deeds will become legend... who will be celebrated as well for her ravishing beauty, which she alone understands is both a blessing and a curse.
Maia - growing up as eldest daughter in a poor fisherman's family in a remote corner of the mythical Beklan Empire, leading a quiet, sheltered life (helping with the younger children, mending her stepfather's nets, swimming in the waters of Lake Serrelind)... until one day, the victim of a horrifying act of deceit, she finds herself en route to Bekla itself, to be sold as a concubine, completely cut off from her family and her past, friendless except for the young black woman, Occula, also on her way into slavery.
It is Occula - a foreigner, a violent and cunning sorceress - who saves Maia, instructs and protects her, preparing her to deal with her fate. Together, sold to a powerful Beklan nobleman, they are introduced to a world of luxury and depravity, of dazzling and seductive pleasures, and are enmeshed in a web of fierce political intrigue as they spend their days and nights in the company of Bekla's richest, most influential, most ruthless and ambitious citizens.
And when the empire itself - suddenly in political and military convulsion - becomes imperiled, it is Maia alone who can prevent its destruction. At a moment of grave crisis she risks her life - as well as her future with the young soldier she has fallen deeply in love with - to save the Beklan army. She becomes a national heroine, famous throughout the Empire.... And yet she herself remains caught up in danger and despair..
1200+ pages of nothing. I have read some amazing fantasy "epics" (Blade of Tyshalle), and this is certainly thick enough to be an "epic," but there is no substance. I am not impressed by 5 pages describing every detail of various sculptures, and the main character was too shallow to carry the book. Boring and a total waste of my time.
Reading Maia was a very interesting experience. The book had many chapters that crawled by, but also many that seemed like a best-seller page turner. It was very hard to get into at first, especially because I had a copy without a dust jacket and therefore I had no idea what I was "getting into" at all.
This is the story of a young girl - in her early teens, who is sold into slavery and eventually bought as a pleasure slave in a very rich and prestigious household in the capital city.
She is very innocent, but in a simple sweet way and she has an amazing friend - also a pleasure slave named Occula who helps her adjust to the new way of life.
And then she gets wrapped up in the politics of her world, gains enemies and allies, affects a great war, becomes beloved by all the people in the country. She does all this without trying, and certainly without any scheming.
I found her kind of boring. She seemed so empty-headed most of the time, and Mr. Adams continuously wrote of her being so gay and joyous and troubles never settling on her for longer than a moment. Things seemed to simply happen to her, with neither her nor the author really sure why.
As Watership Down was the only other book by Mr. Adams I have read, I was greatly surprised by the sex scenes and how erotic they were. I shouldn't have been surprised considering Maia was a pleasure slave, but I just couldn't believe the same author wrote about bunnies trying to find a new home!
The style of writing was probably the hardest to follow and made the book even longer than it's 1,000+ pages. It was just too flowery and slightly paternal in tone. Often it felt like he was making up emotions for a young woman to have rather than what she would actually feel.
All that aside, the world was very interesting, and Mr. Adams has a great flair for writing stories within stories. In both Watership Down and Maia he comes up with believable and interesting fables and mythology which his characters tell in the books.
I would give Maia a try if you have a lot of patience, really like Mr. Adams' writing, and don't mind some erotic sex scenes.