Tag Archives: Elspeth Cooper

Cooper, Elspeth: The Raven’s Shadow (The Wild Hunt III) (2013)

the_ravens_shadow
Illustration by Dominic Harman
Design by Sue Michniewicz

You know, Ailric is a douchebag. He is about as power-starved as you can possibly get and Tanith is his way to the throne. Talk about being willing to do and say anything to get his way. Humans are less than dirt to him and his jealousy knows no bounds. As if he has anything to be jealous about. Tanith tells him over and over and over again that she is not interested and could he please stop touching her. Being the third in line for the throne of the “elves”, Tanith feels pressured by many of the folks at home to bind herself to Ailric as the joining of their two families is seen as a good match.

According to Psychology Today a person with a narcissistic personality disorder is one who is arrogant, lacks empathy for other people, needs a lot of admiration. Narcissists are cocky, self-centered, manipulative and demanding. They are focused on unlikely outcomes (I don’t know – like becoming consort to Tanith) and feel they deserve special treatment. For some reason they have a high self-esteem – which goes along with their arrogance. If their self-esteem is threatened they may become aggressive (like Ailric’s threats and actions toward both Gair and Tanith) even though their self-esteem is rooted in the bedrock of who they are.

Holy cow, this is soooo Ailric. He manages to match all of the qualities. Like I said: a complete and total douchebag.

Gair is your basic good guy. He’s not perfect, not by a long shot. In fact he is feeling pretty murderous when it comes to Savin. I get this need for vengeance. Not that anyone has ever effected the killing of one of my loved ones, but there have been people I would have liked to, at the very least, beat up. People who hurt my children in any way come to mind – even if mine are adult now. In real life I prefer the good guys (and women). I happen to be married to one of the most decent men on earth. Like Gair they are all flawed in some manner, but something shines through. This strange quality is what Ms. Cooper manages to catch in her writing. Someone like Gair is often presented in a manner that makes me wriggle uncomfortably due to their unbelievability. But Ms. Cooper stays far, far, far away from that trap. Gair is a guy I would like to hug just because he is huggable. I guess he could be good-looking but that is not what I am remembering – and I finished The Raven’s Shadow at 6 am this morning.

I kid you not. I am 49 years old in a few days and I read through the night. What’s an old woman doing with an all-night-read? Shame on you Ms. Cooper for keeping me up all night. That seldom happens any longer, but I just had to finish. Now I have to wait another year or two for the next installment. What I have just done is a basic case of hurry up and wait. Oh, well. Old age is no guarantee for learning from experience. I choose to blame it all on Ms. Cooper. No personal responsibility at all – oh no!

Teia is the other extremely interesting main character. Poor girl. Once it was discovered she had the talent, she has had to be extremely careful about letting on how strong she was/is. Not only has she needed to watch out for the clan speaker, but she has also had a less than ideal relationship with the clan chief. Well, relationship is a bit strong. Before she was 16 he abused and raped Teia until he had impregnated her. Good thing she ran away even if it did lead to her becoming banfaith of the Lost Ones. A banfaith is a prophetess or oracle. Understandably, Teia feels awfully young for the kind of responsibility she holds. In a sense she is considered next to Baer (their chief) in authority. The Lost Ones ask for her guidance on where to travel which is kind of natural as Teia sees where they need to go. Where the Lost Ones need to go is to the enemy to warn them of the pending invasion.

Ytha is Teia’s old teacher. She is the one who should have made certain that Teia received proper training for a Speaker. But Ytha is afraid of what would happen if someone has more power than she. Anything (including murdering people perceived as obstacles) is acceptable to achieve her goals. Ytha’s goal is to lead all of the Nimrothi clans into the old home-land – together with her chief Drwyn as chief of chiefs. I would not like to get into her way.

Elspeth Cooper’s writing has appealed to me from the beginning. She is one of those rare people who has a gift. In all likelihood Ms. Cooper works hard to provide us with a novel of this quality. But, you know, there is that extra indefinable something that gifted people have.

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Reviews:


  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (15 Aug 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575134380
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575134386

My review of:

  1. Songs of the Earth
  2. Trinity Rising

Cooper, Elspeth: Trinity Rising (2012)

Design Sue Michniewicz, illustration Dominic Harman

I have just been made aware of the difference in the usage of serials and series. The Wild Hunt is a serial. This means that each book ends without the story being finished.

I admit it. I hesitated to read Trinity Rising. No way could Elspeth Cooper live up to the promise of her first novel. Hah, hah, what a joke. Trinity Rising was even better. The hiccups of Songs of the Earth were gone. Trinity Rising grabbed my brain and kept its hold until the end. I loved the characterization and the story.

Savin is a psychopath. Cooper shows his complete lack of empathy through the episodes he appears in. Gair is grief-stricken and functions quite poorly until the end of the novel. Alderan is concerned with the well-being of the many over the well-being of the few. In the end Gair finds it impossible to support this stance. We meet Teia of the Northern tribes. She brings with her new traditions and a deeper understanding of the conflicts between the Empire and the Clans. I found myself becoming fond of her and rooting for her and am looking forward to seeing where The Wild Hunt will go in Cooper’s next novel.

For those of you who find reading sexual content difficult, be warned. Ms. Cooper has written these novels for adults. To me it all fit perfectly together and I recommend this novel to you all.

Cooper, Elspeth: Songs of The Earth (The Wild Hunt I) (2012)

Songs of The Earth is Elspeth Cooper’s debut novel and a pretty good one at that. There are some rough patches (text hiccups mainly), but all in all Songs of The Earth is solid. There is content that somewhat detailed sexually and there is some descriptive violence.

Songs of The Earth is book one of The Wild Hunt series. In it Cooper brings us into the world of Gair, a world where hearing music is considered of the devil. Historically, we know what happens to people who are considered devilish. They are burned. This is to be Gair’s fate, but against all odds he is saved and gets to live out his story.

Cooper’s novel is concentrated on Gair and his path into magic. It touches upon his main enemy, Elder Goran and one of the good guys, Masen, a gatekeeper.

These three are well-developed characters. I feel their fear, lust and worry. Fortunately Cooper manages to avoid black and white thinking. We see this in the personalities of her characters, except for Goran. He is pretty dark.


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