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VERA NAZARIAN immigrated to the USA from the former USSR as a kid, sold her first story at the age of 17, and since then has published numerous works in anthologies and magazines, and has seen her fiction translated into eight languages.
She made her novelist debut with the critically acclaimed arabesque "collage" novel DREAMS OF THE COMPASS ROSE (2002), followed by epic fantasy about a world without color, LORDS OF RAINBOW (2003). Her novella THE CLOCK KING AND THE QUEEN OF THE HOURGLASS from PS Publishing with an introduction by Charles de Lint made the Locus Recommended Reading List for 2005. Her debut short fiction collection SALT OF THE AIR, with an introduction by Gene Wolfe, contains the 2007 Nebula Award-nominated "The Story of Love."
Recent work includes the 2008 Nebula Award-nominated, self-illustrated baroque fantasy novella THE DUKE IN HIS CASTLE (2008), the hilarious and surprisingly romantic Jane Austen parodies MANSFIELD PARK AND MUMMIES (2009), NORTHANGER ABBEY AND ANGELS AND DRAGONS (2010), PRIDE AND PLATYPUS: Mr Darcy's Dreadful Secret (2012), science fiction collection AFTER THE SUNDIAL (2010), inspirational daily reader THE PERPETUAL CALENDAR OF INSPIRATION (2010), relationship and love advice parody VAMPIRES ARE FROM VENUS, WEREWOLVES ARE FROM MARS (2012), and the Renaissance epic fantasy COBWEB BRIDE Trilogy (2013).
She is working on a number of book-length projects including QUALIFY (The Atlantis Grail Trilogy, Book One), LADY OF MONOCHROME (a sequel to LORDS OF RAINBOW), a new Compass Rose milieu novel GODS OF THE COMPASS ROSE, and the AIREALM Trilogy.
After many years in Los Angeles, Vera lives in a small town in Vermont, and uses her Armenian sense of humor and her Russian sense of suffering to bake conflicted pirozhki and make art.
In addition to being a writer and award-winning artist, she is also the publisher of Norilana Books.
Official website: www.veranazarian.com
on Jan. 16, 2014 :
I absolutely loved book one, the first in a trilogy set in an imaginary pocket of Europe during the Renaissance, and managed to get my mitts on Cobweb Empire, its follow-up. I've had book two on my Kindle for some time, but I'll admit, the release of the final book, Cobweb Forest, gave me the kick up the bum that I needed to read it.
As with book one, Cobweb Empire tells the story of Percy Ayren, the ordinary village girl from northern Lethe, only now Percy isn't so ordinary. During book one, death stopped entirely while the Reaper searched for his Cobweb Bride, and the dead were forced to keep going in whatever state they were in at the point of 'death'. By book two, things are getting worse, and entire sections of the world are simply disappearing. After an audience with the Reaper, Percy's now been granted the ability to give the dead a final ending, reuniting their broken bodies with their souls. In a world where no one can die, such an ability is obviously highly prized, and many people see the value in having Percy in their custody. Trouble is, Percy needs to be elsewhere, still tasked with finding the Cobweb Bride, so off she goes, accompanied by handsome knight Sir Beltain Chidair, to find her.
While Percy's having adventures throughout both the Realm and the Domain, a host of other characters are also exploring the extensive world created by Nazarian, be they the terrifying Sovereign of the Domain, hell bent on conquering the Realm, or the dandyish duo, Lady Amaryllis and Lord Nathan, held captive in a northern dungeon. There is plenty going on to keep the narrative ticking along at a smart pace, and being book two, Cobweb Empire has the luxury of being able to hit the ground running. Having read the Kindle version, I think I read at least 20% of it in one go.
As ever, the characterisation is spot on (although I'm not sure that eyes need to be constantly described as being 'liquid'), and it's easy to root for Percy. Grial the witch makes more of an appearance in this book, and she's a wonderful character who reminds me a lot of Mrs Weasley from Harry Potter. I was pleased to get to know Lady Amaryllis more - she was a little stereotypical in book one but she shows real wit and ingenuity in book two, as does Nazarian herself. The world she has created is an extraordinary one, packed with inventive details. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
It won't make much sense if you haven't read book one, but I'd highly recommend that you buy both and read them back to back. It also baffles me why Hollywood keeps making remakes when it could be adapting something like this for the big screen. Hopefully HBO might take the hint!
(reviewed 82 days after purchase)
on Oct. 12, 2013 :
Book Info: Genre: Pseudo-historical Fantasy
Reading Level: Upper Young Adult
Recommended for: those interested in Persephone/Demeter mythology, alternate history, well-told fantasy stories
Trigger Warnings: murder, suicide, war
My Thoughts: This is the continuation of the Cobweb Bride trilogy, the first book of which I read in July. It is a pseudo-historical fantasy set during the Renaissance, although not strictly historically accurate (thus the fantasy aspect). It cleverly recreates the Persephone myth and twists it around a bit, which I find to be fascinating in the extreme, and with Vera Nazarian's deft touch and excellent writing, this series is one anyone interested in the Persephone/Demester story, or alternate history, or well-done fantasy will enjoy.
I really enjoy Grial, she's just a hoot. Here is an example of the sorts of things she tends to say, from a conversation she is having with Lord Beltain.
“But if you ask me, every time seems strange and dark,” Grial said, “when you are living smack in the middle of it. It's only much later, afterwards, once you've lived long enough to look back, that you can start to see both the bright colors and the dark spots properly—and sometimes, you even see polka dots and clubs and diamonds and even hearts—and yes, a very common thing, you do get to see these pesky little string floaters in your eye! In any case, age is nothing more than the acquisition of Temporal Perspective! Oh, and rheumatism too, I must add.”
She does have a tendency to go a bit off topic, which I found absolutely disarming. All the characters are distinct without being cliché, and each is a fascinating character study onto themselves for someone who is interested in seeing that sort of thing.
I'm very much looking forward to the third book of this trilogy, which I hope will be coming out very soon. If this book sounds like something you would like, don't hesitate to pick it up, but also don't forget this is the second book in the series and you will need to read the first book first. Highly recommended.
Series Information: The Cobweb Bride Trilogy
Book 1: Cobweb Bride, review linked here
Book 2: Cobweb Empire
Book 3: Cobweb Forest, release date TBA
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this e-book from the author. No review was specifically requested, but I'm happy to provide an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Synopsis: In a world where no one can die, she alone can kill...
Cobweb Empire (Cobweb Bride Trilogy #2) is the second book of the intricate epic fantasy flavored by Renaissance history and the romantic myth of Persephone, about death's ultimatum to the world.
Now that she's Death's Champion, what will Percy do?
In a world where all death and dying has ceased, and only one person can kill, everyone can only expect a miracle. But what if it's just the tip of the iceberg?
Percy Ayren must make her way south, despite all odds, to the place where the death shadow of the Cobweb Bride calls her. With the help of her companions and the invincible black knight, Lord Beltain Chidair, whose enigmatic presence disturbs her in a way she cannot explain, Percy must continue her quest, while the mortal world falls apart around them….
Meanwhile, the Marquis Vlau Fiomarre faces the truth of his impossible feelings for Claere Liguon, the Emperor’s daughter. He had cruelly taken her life, and now he must serve her until his last dying breath—it is no longer a matter of honor but secret passion.
And now, the world itself is changing…. A new dark witch rises, and she will make your heart freeze with her beauty and power….
Empires clash, kings and emperors and gods vie for supremacy, the living and the dead are at war, while love stories play out in amazing directions, and new mind-blowing mysteries are born.
(reviewed 17 days after purchase)