Saturday, March 31, 2012

Indie Book Review: An Intimate History of the Greater Kingdom: Son in Sorrow

A while back, I reviewed An Intimate History of the Greater Kingdom: Lovers and Beloveds. And I really enjoyed it.  It was a glorious mix of epic politics and an erotic coming of age that just made me happy all the way through. Did I have some quibbles? Sure, but they were minor, and the whole thing was just a lovely book.

Recently, MeiLin Miranda sent me book two in the series, Son in Sorrow, and I'm happy to say, I love this one. Lovers and Beloveds was a good, solid, first book, and Son in Sorrow is even better.

These books cover so much and so deeply they are hard to categorize, but I'll try. These are the stories of what it takes to go from being a boy to a man to a king.There are scads of boy-turns-into-man stories out there, and usually they just scratch the surface, as if making a few hard decisions and killing monsters is enough to do the job. It's not. And Miranda does a brilliant job showing this.

These stories deal with not just the idea of making hard decisions, but also the soft ones, the ones that look easy on the surface but ripple outward over the years. In Lovers and Beloved the joys, erotic and emotional, of love were studied. In Son in Sorrow, the pain of love lost, jealousy, and the desire for revenge are on the menu.

This is love bound by the larger world filled with political intrigue. It's not enough that Temmin, now twenty, has to sort himself out, but he must do it on a grand stage as the Heir of a mighty kingdom, in the eyes of everyone and with scores of men out to plot his downfall.

Like Lovers, Son in Sorrow is filled with first rate world building. This reads as a history of a real world, just one you've never met before.  Like Lovers, the story in story technique is used to great effect as a way to help young Temmin understand what he needs to know to help grasp at least some of what is going on around him.

Unlike Lovers, Son in Sorrow spends more time with the secondary characters. Plot threads only hinted at in Lovers get picked up, taken along for a quick tantalizing visit, and then left to germinate. Characters who flitted in and out of Lovers get their own screen time, and I'm eagerly awaiting to see where they go. A few new ones pop up as well, and seeing how well Miranda has done with the first two books, I'm happily anticipating and debating where they'll come in later in the story and how.

This is an author who does her homework. The Greater History is a complex and EPIC tale, and so far, more than 600 pages into the series we're still meeting new characters, learning new history, and setting up what is going to be an absolute corker of a tale. Yet, with the fact that this is all set up for a greater story, the bits we've already gotten do not feel unimportant or rushed. There's no sense of the author biding her time, just waiting for all the characters to get into place. This planning for the grand show to come is just as important, and interesting, as what I hope will be heading our way in the future.

So, that said, out you get for a copy of Lovers and Beloveds and Son in Sorrow. Read them! Then bookmark Miss Miranda's page so that you can get in on the next one as soon as it's out. It will be well worth your time.

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