First book in the Woven Myths series, “A Slice of Quietude” is an introduction to a world of assassins, scheming deities, and dramatic bards (I’m looking at you, Kinjara).
So Many Characters
I love the concept of the characters – concept. See, the book opens with a clearly bad-ass woman fighter against other similarly bad-ass women fighters. It starts with an action scene. How exciting! Not really. Because I didn’t know the characters that well yet, I didn’t feel worried, anxious, afraid or even in awe of the situation. I mostly felt confused.
With Yiftan, Goddhai, Guildhall, Slicers, and a hundred other terms that require a Woven Myths wiki (the glossary at the end doesn’t help, I swear), Sharon Cho’s world has a nice concept, but considering it’s a new and unfamiliar realm, the world-building should have been more carefully done.
A list at the start of the novel might’ve been helpful (Stephen King uses it, so don’t diss it). The novel’s charm is its idea of pseudo-medieval fantastical realm where people hardly blink at homosexual relationships, and the women can both be strong and feminine – meaning they don’t have to be faux male to be considered bad-ass. The first protagonist, Kat, is a Midnight Slicer, and the other one is Tristien, a scarred fighter with a traumatic past. Both are flawed, uncertain of their feelings, and running from some dark memories.
Tristien’s companions are Kinjara, a witty bard (and I love her to death), and Cela, who has a reservoir of swear words and weapons.
What’s at stake here?
Really, this was a question that kept cropping up in my head as I read the story. It was a fantasy story, with a promise of more action, meddling deities, and a strange, new world – which was why I was expecting more of a “The world is in danger, let’s do something about it” vibe, rather than a “Welcome to our fantasy world, read about our adventures” type, which persisted in the bigger part of the story.
Tristien is an interesting character (more so than Kat, sorry) because of a betrayal from a former lover, and her involvement with the Goddhai (yes, those meddling gods who sire and birth demi-gods). I’m guessing – hoping, really – that the stakes would be higher in the second book. Also, I kept reading about the Three H Academy and the Inter-Collegiate Games (which sends a jarringly different feel to the story of fiefdom and mercenary guilds I encountered in the first few pages. I mean, going from a GoT to a Harry Potter feel was very surprising).
Should you read it?
Of course. It’s around 200+ pages, and the characters are very interesting. I like that Kat and Tristien’s relationship isn’t the “I’m lusting after you, let’s make babies” kind. It’s careful, passionate, and genuine – where two strangers learn to trust each other, despite their backgrounds in killing and following orders (Kat), and having been betrayed by people they trusted (Tristien). Just be careful and be patient with a lot of the names and terms. They gave me a small headache (partly because my eyes needed some rest, too, though).