The Tempering of Men

The Tempering of Men - Elizabeth Bear, Sarah Monette I'm going to be honest with you, I'm a little bit disappointed in this book. I guess that's why it took me so long to do a review - I didn't want to say anything bad about it, but there really wasn't much to say.

Let me start with the positive - we get glimpses of other people's points of view this time, and I enjoy the break from Isolfr's somewhat whiny point of view. I like whiny heroes (Hi, Harry Potter) but sometimes it's nice to have a viewpoint from someone who is a bit more grown up, a bit more settled in themselves, and has accepted themselves and their lives a bit more.

I think my favourite is probably Fargrimir, who is his father's sworn-son. In the first book it is explained that a man without sons will sometimes make one out of a daughter, if he has one of those, raising her as a man in order to have an heir. Fargimir is badass and a compelling character, and one of my favourite things about this book is that we learn more about him.

That being said, if the entire series was one book, this would be the saggy middle. Nothing much happens, and it's pretty blatantly a setup for Book 3. So there's that. Apparently Romans, which...yay? I guess?

Also the whole Isolfr/Skjaldwulf/Vethulf did not work out as I hoped it would. Isolfr seems to be keeping himself apart from his wolfjarls. I had thought that by the end of the first book he had more or less accepted the relationship, but now I find that he never really committed to it, and in fact leaves both his lovers pining for him. I'm a big fan of pining, but when you're actually in a relationship with people and you let them feel the way Skjaldwulf and Vethulf feel, you're a dick.

So, I have a lot of feelings about this book, but basically, as a setup for Book 3, it can't be beat, but as a book on its own it deflates like a second-day balloon.