Sunday, May 12, 2013

Bridge of Dreams, Anne Bishop

Anne Bishop is one of my favorite authors! I love her. I enjoy fantasy generally because of the worlds the fantasy genre can create. You can do things you just can't do when you have to adhere to, say...physics.

Bishop, for me, is one of the best. Yes, Tolkien et al are epic, I don't mean to  downplay the the greats, but Bishop creates such unique and inventive worlds. I just look forward to whatever she writes.

This is the third book in the Ephemera series. Ephemera is the name of the world. It has been broken by a war, and pieces are adrift. Say, you're in Spain, maybe even right on the border of France. But because the world is broken, you can't get to France. That's not true for every piece of Ephemera, but some are completely unconnected.

Ephemera is also... sentient, it has a personality. It's childlike and grants its peoples wishes, changing the world to fit those wishes. So, in this world, there are Landscapers and Bridges.

Landscapers can interact with the world and control it to some extent. They make sure the world doesn't fulfill every passing wish. Would kinda suck if a teen said "I hate you mom! I wish you'd disappear!" and then she does. So, Landscapers tend to the world and keep the light and dark hearts in balance. There are light and dark landscapes/pieces, but dark doesn't mean bad, though it can. The only thing they can't keep the world from doing is granting a Heart's Wish.

Bridges work with Landscapers to join the pieces of the world the Landscaper is responsible for, and at times join those to pieces other Landscapers care for. The key is a Landscaper can only care for the pieces that resonate with their hearts and Bridges can only connect pieces that resonate together. Also, some connections are stationary bridges which just take a person from A to B, others are resonating bridges. Those bridges take a person from A to B, but B is determined by which landscape resonates with the person crossing the bridge. It helps people find what makes them happy; helps them find their Heart's Wish.

On top of the world, Bishop creates fabulous creatures to go in it. There are more typical creatures, like incubi and succubi, but there are also others. Demoncycles, which are like motorcycles, but alive and willing to eat their rider. Merry Makers, which lure their victims into a bog. Or Waterhorses, which are more than willing to give you a ride, only you can't get off while they ride under water and drown you.

Those are demon races though. In this book, we're introduced to a new race: the Tryad. They're not a demon race, but they're unique enough that some think they are. The Tryad have one body, but contain three people. Not three personalities, three people. The body changes when the personality does. If one is injured, the others are not, though if it's severe enough it will. They only need true sleep every few days because one aspect can be visible while the other 2 rest. There are even instances of 2 of one gender and 1 of the other, though rare. Usually there are 3 brothers or 3 sisters. One is the heart, one is the protector, and one is the mind.

This book takes place in a city called Vision. In Vision you can only find what you see. That's the way they look at it anyway. Really, what it means is that you can only find what you resonate with, just like the rest of Ephemera. Shamans act as Landscapers, but there are no Bridges. People can only get to the city via normal means: ships, horse, carriage, feet.

Seriously, who comes up with this kind of thing?! It's really amazing.

The basic plot of this book is the emotional journey of Lee. The first book of the series is Sebastian, the second is Belladonna. Lee is the brother of Belladonna and the cousin of Sebastian. Belladonna saves the world in book 2, but has to break herself to do it. In this book Lee struggles to accept his sister as she is now. He gets captured by wizards (the bad guys), and ends up in the Asylum in Vision, where one of the Tryad work. There he meets a Shaman, Danyl, who has power similar to his sisters. Vision has no knowledge of Ephemera as the Landscapers and Bridges, and those who live with them, know it. Lee and Danyl become friends and work to keep Vision balanced and stop the wizards from making it a dark landscape.

I enjoyed this book so much, as I do anything by Bishop. I would definitely suggest starting with book one, Sebastian. This is not the kind of series you can jump around in - read it in order. Look at it this way: you can read the first three before you have to wait...

Bridge of Dreams, Anne Bishop

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