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Glenda Larke

Watergivers Trilogy, Book 3

Harper Voyager (2011)

ISBN: 978-0-7322-8931-7

Reviewed by Jason Nahrung

“Not all Reduners are coloured with the same dust.”

Neither are all fantasy authors cut from the same cloth. This volume brings to a close Glenda Larke’s third fantasy trilogy, and what an enjoyable journey it has been. The most striking element of Larke’s storytelling is the way, in all her series, that the landscape is rendered as not just a backdrop, but as a very real element in the societies she describes. In the case of the Watergivers, the environment is all-consuming. This runs all the way down to the characters’ curses, without ever feeling forced or twee. The societies are eminently believable, with economies, religion and social structures all shaped to some degree by the climate.

In the previous books, we’ve seen how the desert-dwelling Reduners have risen up to oppose the seat of power in the coastal Scarpen, intent on destroying the stormlords’ hegemony over the distribution of rain. In the background is a conflict of beliefs – Larke loves to explore the complexity of religion and the danger of fundamentalism – and issues of inter-cultural understanding and social justice (there are transgender and homosexual characters here, and varying degrees of cultural appreciation for the role of women, all handled with the minimum of fuss and no screaming slogans).

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Glenda Larke

Watergivers, Book 3

Harper Voyager (2011 )

ISBN: 978-0-7322-8931-7

Reviewed by Tehani Wessely

Glenda Larke has to be one of the best writers of fantasy Australia has produced. With a solid backlist of two great trilogies behind her, she has really hammered home her dominance with the Watergivers trilogy. Having set up a world that seems just a little too real with its water problems, but is nonetheless entirely alien, Larke populates it with both magical and mundane characters of wonderful diversity, then throws them into intense conflict. While her books are high fantasy of the fattest “fat fantasy” tradition, they draw you in so completely that the pages simply fly by.

It is difficult to review the third novel without spoiling the first two, as such significant character development occurs throughout the series. It’s also worth saying that I highly recommend this series be read in close progression. I wish I’d had the time to reread the first two before devouring the third, as although Larke does well to recap on past events within the narrative, it is a large cast and a broad canvas, so rolling through from beginning to end helps heighten the emotional investment in the story.

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Glenda Larke

Book 2, Watergivers

Harper Voyager (2010)

ISBN: 978 0 7322 8930 0

Reviewed by Tehani Wessely, May 2010

Stormlord Rising is possibly the best Book Two of a series I have ever read. To be fair, I have read Book One (The Last Stormlord), but I believe this one even does its own justice to a newcomer to the series. Larke manages to effectively start a new storyline with Stormlord Rising that is enhanced by having read The Last Stormlord, but not reliant upon it.

With the invasion of Breccia City and Qanatend by the Reduner tribes, led by Sandmaster Davim, which wiped out almost all the rainlords of the Quartern, Jasper Bloodstone – risen from lowly beginnings – is the only remaining stormlord with enough power to bring rain to the region. Supported and manipulated in his flawed powers by the traitorous Taquar Sardonyx, Jasper slowly fights to free himself from the control of others, seeking any way possible to truly command his own destiny. His journey intersects with that of the waterpainter Terelle Grey, who fights her own fate, and the lives of the last remaining rainlords. But Taquar is not the only enemy; Sandmaster Davim is rabid in his hatred of the stormlords, and his heir – the Reduner chief Ravard – has his own agenda as well. Can Jasper possibly fight a war that has so many fronts?

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