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The Steel Seraglio (2012)

– tekijä: Mike Carey, Linda Carey, Louise Carey

Muut tekijät: Nimit Malavia (Kuvittaja)

Muut tekijät: Katso muut tekijät -osio.

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
1569133,694 (4.14)9
Once, in a city known as Bessa, there was a sultan named Bokhari Al-Bokhari, who was thrown down by the zealots of the ascetic Hakkim Mehdad. The sultan, his wives and children were put to the sword, while his 365 concubines were sent to a neighbouring caliph as tribute, Hakkim having no use for the pleasures of the flesh. But a day after the caravan had departed from Bessa, Hakkim discovered the terrible secret that the concubines had hidden from him. His reaction was swift and cruel. Kill the women of the harem forthwith, along with their children and maidservants. Let not one survive. This, then, is the tale - or tales - of how a remarkable group of women fight together to survive both the fury of Hakkim and the rigours of the desert. This is the tale of the forging of a rabble of concubines, children, camel-herds and thieves into an army of silk and steel. It is the tale of the redemption and rise of Bessa, fabled City of Women. And it is the tale of an act of kindness that carries the seed of death, and will return to bring darkness and the end of a dream...… (lisätietoja)
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» Katso myös 9 mainintaa

Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 9) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
Do you want to read an epic, action-packed and emotionally rich fantasy novel that centres around amazing women? Do you want to read about lady assassins, oracles, diplomats, soldiers, con-artists, dancers, bakers and librarians kicking ass? Do you like stories about women protecting each other, teaching each other, forming communities, and sometimes having sex and falling in love with each other? And would you like to see a fantasy setting that’s not pseudo medieval Europe but pseudo pre-Islam Middle East, and a cast of hundreds without a single white person in the bunch? Then do I ever have a book for you! This is the story of almost four hundred concubines and illegitimate children who were ordered to be killed when their sultan was overthrown, who found a way to not only survive, but thrive, and then take their city back. It’s awesome, and not nearly as well-known as it deserves to be. ( )
  elusiverica | Aug 15, 2020 |
This was really interesting. I think that stylistically it could have been more engaging; the "collection of tales" format makes the pacing a little odd in some places, and feels contrived in others. However, that style and format fed into the wider ideas and themes of the book, making the core of it all even stronger.

There's a wonderful saturation of place and society and culture. I can't speak to the strict accuracy of the setting, or whether this is a genuine Kay-esque reimagining of historical events around, say, ancient Timbuktu or Gao. But it feels whole and real and genuine and both different and normal (to me-the-reader and them-the-characters respectively) and I have a lot of time for that depth and elegance of world-building. The early parts of the book are marked by a resigned and unpleasantly "natural" misogyny, but that also becomes part of the themes and concepts of the book (the overturning thereof, the unthinking of that naturalness).

I couldn't say I really loved or enjoyed this book, but it did move me to tears, and I think it's extremely well done, and saying interesting and worthwhile things. ( )
  cupiscent | Aug 3, 2019 |
Occasionally I’ll come across a book that’ll have me saying, “Yes, THIS is what I want from the fantasy genre.” The Steel Seraglio is one such book.

When a violent coup shakes the city of Bessa, the sultan’s 365 concubines find themselves in the hands of a religious zealot who has no use for them. They are first exiled and then ordered dead. But the women of Bessa’s harem have their own plans.

The Steel Seraglio sort of feels like Mad Max: Fury Road crossed with Valente’s In the Night Garden. The narrative isn’t always straight forward, but sometimes includes nested tales as in the manner of One Thousand and One Nights. Such tales may be anything from stories spun by one character or another or a look into a central character’s backstory. The story isn’t fast paced by any means, but the prose is lyrical and descriptive and the sometimes meandering narrative is tied together by the more straight forward narrative of the community the women form.

The Steel Seraglio is not the story of a single man or woman but instead the story of a community. Combined with the narrative structure, this made it feel like a mosaic, with each piece coming together to form a greater whole. The premise of the book also means that this is a book containing many important women and the relationships between them. I think it may be the first fantasy book I’ve ever read that’s so intrinsically about women working together and forming a community for themselves.

“A question, dear, before we begin. How does a young woman kill three armed men?”
“Clean living and regular exercise, auntie. Also, five years of training in the arts of murder.”

That said, I did grow to love many of the central characters within the span of four hundred pages. Gursoon is an older woman, the de facto leader of the concubines, and possesses a certain wisdom and insight. Zuleika, who after years as an assassin now seeks a greater goal. Anwar Das a thief and bandit who is able to use his wit and gift for lies to benefit the new community. And Rem, a learned seer gifted (or cursed?) by dijnn who can fathom all but her own future.

The Steel Seraglio is not a romance focused book, but the most important romantic relationship was between two women. And neither dies! I was afraid that one would die from the minute the relationship began, and the fact that my fears were unfounded only makes me love the book more.

Oh, and one more reason to love The Steel Seraglio? It contains some beautiful illustrations.

I did have some problems with how the story was constructed. The Steel Seraglio is divided into a Book I and a Book II. Book I felt like it held together better as one story. Book II was only about a hundred pages long and felt sort of like a novella length sequel that’d been added onto the end. I also wonder how the ending matches up with the beginning of the book.

Those comments aside, I can say that The Steel Seraglio is a book I thoroughly enjoyed. Honestly, reading it just made me so happy. I have little doubt that this will end up being one of my favorite reads of 2016. I highly recommend it to those looking for a fantasy book in a non-Western setting or with a focus on multiple female characters. Or anyone who just wants a wonderful book.

Review originally posted on The Illustrated Page. ( )
  pwaites | Aug 23, 2016 |
Well, this is a tough one to review. On the one hand, I greatly appreciate the effort. The story is wonderful: a group of concubines takes life into their own hands when forced to it, and decides they like it. They build a new life for themselves, a life in which women rule and are allowed to do something with their lives. They conquer a religious fanatic, they change their lives for the better. A wonderful story! Passes the Bechdel test easily! Great female characters, and a lot of them, including two great lesbian characters. It's such a pity that the authors don't know how to tell a story... It really took me over 150 pages to get into it enough without getting annoyed at the writing style. It is written very distantly, a bit like someone is telling stories, or fairy-tales. That makes it very difficult to connect to any of the characters, despite the fact that they are great. And it is very necessary to connect to them, because the first few chapters introduces quite a few of them. And just about every single chapter starts like a story told to toddlers again. By the end of the chapter, perhaps you get into it a bit, and then whoop, new chapter, new shallow, distant fairy-tale. I skipped the chapter where one of the characters is ACTUALLY telling a fairy-tale. He is clearly making up a story about himself, but still the whole chapter is 'and the young man did this', 'the young man did that'. Boring! The middle of the book finally gets a bit better. Then part 2 starts. Yes, for some reason the book is divided in two parts. And the second part reads like a bunch of short stories. As if the authors thought out a few of them, and then decided to stick them at the end. They feel completely random. The last few chapters make more sense again.

Because the story is so great, and the characters are so cool, I'm going with 2.5 stars. Such a pity... ( )
  zjakkelien | Jun 21, 2014 |
Enjoyable read but over-long. The arabian nights style of stories-within-stories helped to break it up a bit but also contributed to the feeling of over-familiarity - felt I always knew what was going to happen. ( )
  SChant | Jul 29, 2013 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 9) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
The Careys nest smaller tales within the larger story and often jump around in time; it's a good approach, backed by fast pacing and great characters, and the occasional tonal stumble [. . .] is negligible in light of the thrilling tale.
lisäsi nsblumenfeld | muokkaaPublishers Weekly (Jan 30, 2012)
 

» Lisää muita tekijöitä

Tekijän nimiRooliTekijän tyyppiKoskeeko teosta?Tila
Mike Careyensisijainen tekijäkaikki painoksetcalculated
Carey, Lindapäätekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
Carey, Louisepäätekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
Malavia, NimitKuvittajamuu tekijäkaikki painoksetvahvistettu
Beiko, SamanthaSuunnittelijamuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Edwards, ChrisProofreadermuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Mohr, ErikKansikuvataiteilijamuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Sinun täytyy kirjautua sisään voidaksesi muokata Yhteistä tietoa
Katso lisäohjeita Common Knowledge -sivuilta (englanniksi).
Kanoninen teoksen nimi
Alkuteoksen nimi
Teoksen muut nimet
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
Alkuperäinen julkaisuvuosi
Henkilöt/hahmot
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Tärkeät paikat
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Tärkeät tapahtumat
Kirjaan liittyvät elokuvat
Palkinnot ja kunnianosoitukset
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
Epigrafi (motto tai mietelause kirjan alussa)
Omistuskirjoitus
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
To Davey and Ben, with all our love
Ensimmäiset sanat
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
Once there was a city of women.
Sitaatit
Viimeiset sanat
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
Erotteluhuomautus
Julkaisutoimittajat
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Kirjan kehujat
Alkuteoksen kieli
Canonical DDC/MDS

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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

-

Once, in a city known as Bessa, there was a sultan named Bokhari Al-Bokhari, who was thrown down by the zealots of the ascetic Hakkim Mehdad. The sultan, his wives and children were put to the sword, while his 365 concubines were sent to a neighbouring caliph as tribute, Hakkim having no use for the pleasures of the flesh. But a day after the caravan had departed from Bessa, Hakkim discovered the terrible secret that the concubines had hidden from him. His reaction was swift and cruel. Kill the women of the harem forthwith, along with their children and maidservants. Let not one survive. This, then, is the tale - or tales - of how a remarkable group of women fight together to survive both the fury of Hakkim and the rigours of the desert. This is the tale of the forging of a rabble of concubines, children, camel-herds and thieves into an army of silk and steel. It is the tale of the redemption and rise of Bessa, fabled City of Women. And it is the tale of an act of kindness that carries the seed of death, and will return to bring darkness and the end of a dream...

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