So after reading all the James S.A. Corey novels, I figured I should go back and read Daniel Abraham’s Long Price Quartet (A Shadow in Summer, A Betrayal in Winter, An Autumn War, and The Price of Spring). I’d heard oddly mixed things about the books—some people saying super-excellent things, and then other people being very unimpressed with them. And in general, they don’t seem to have held up as a perennial series that gets trotted out in recommendation lists in the way that some other recent books have.
But I have no idea why, because these books are brilliant, in a multi-layered way. There’s the obvious fantasy-novel way, of having world-building that feels deeply original and also very rich and real—it’s Asian-influenced, in a non-specific way, but it doesn’t feel stereotypical in the way that, say, Feist’s Empire books do; it feels like its own unique thing. There’s the structure of the series: It’s four books, each tells its own complete story, and each is set over a decade after the last; but they build up together into a true generation-spanning epic. There’s the story, which is unpredictable and absorbing all the way through. And there are the thematic elements that run through the book, about choices, consequences, regret, and forgiveness; about gender, constraint, and possibility; about youth, age, and the certainty of change.
In a just world, these would have been winning awards. Highly recommended.