Saturday, 4 June 2016

Book Review: Tremontaine - The Complete Season One

Tremontaine - Season One by Ellen Kushner, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Malinda Lo, Joel Derfner, Racheline Maltese, and Patty Bryant.
Release Date: June 1st, 2016
Publisher: Serial Box
Book Format: eBook from NetGalley
Rating: 5 stars
Welcome to Tremontaine, the prequel to Ellen Kushner’s beloved Riverside series that began with Swordspoint! A Duchess whose beauty is matched only by her cunning; her husband’s dangerous affair with a handsome scholar; a foreigner in a playground of swordplay and secrets; and a mathematical genius on the brink of revolution—when long-buried lies threaten to come to light, betrayal and treachery know no bounds with stakes this high. Mind your manners and enjoy the chocolate in a dance of sparkling wit and political intrigue.

Tremontaine is an episodic serial presented by Serial Box Publishing. This collected omnibus edition gathers all 16 episodes from Season 1.
 First Impression:

One of the biggest reasons why I even found myself interested with this is because Malinda Lo is involved with this. I'm quite selfish, I know. I got even more excited, though, when I learned that Alaya Dawn Johnson is involved as well because I've read one of her books, The Summer Prince, and fell in love with it. On top of that - this is the first time I've seen written fiction being treated as a tv show... in a sense. All the mini stories are considered to be 'episodes' and, with all of them together, they're a season. How unique.

Now I just want to know how this all works with so many multiple authors who have put their own words in this and how they weave together.


As a small disclaimer - I have not yet read any books by Ellen Kushner before reading Tremontaine. This is worth mentioning since it's a prequel for an already published series and I have no idea if this book reflects the quality of the books before it.

At first, this book may seem a little bit daunting to some since it introduces many characters right away. For someone who has trouble taking in too much information at once, it was definitely trying. The book does help the transition of learning about these characters smoothly enough. That's the first episode for you - setting the tone for the rest of the season.

We have a few primary characters that we'll get to follow around a lot. It might help to write them down, unless if you have a better memory than me or you find it easier to just get to know these characters by just following their stories.

First - we have the Duchess Diane Tremontaine. She holds a lot of power in her town and does not hesitate to use it. However, she does not misuse it - she uses her knowledge to plan for things that will benefit her the most. But time is not on her side and she doesn't have long til everything she helped build could crumble away...

Second - The Duke, William Tremontaine, husband to the Duchess. He dedicates his time to his wife and partakes in many of her decisions. He starts to get distracted, however, when he notices a certain male scholar... and he realizes what he's truly missing in his life.

Third - Ixkaab Balam - a young lady who also goes by the nickname 'Kaab'. A trader of things - specifically chocolate from her homeland - and gatherer of secrets. She traveled to a new land to assist with trades with people of higher ranking, like the Tremontaines, with items they desire. Another part of her job is figuring out just who's hiding what. But, even with her history with women, she found herself off guard when she finds a beautiful forgery artist.

Fourth - Micah, a young student who decides to leave her home - the farmland - and pursue a higher education and to put her mind at work in search for greater pastures. In order to not be bothered, however, she claims herself as a male student so she can focus only on college work. But when a tutor instructs their students wrong, Micah stands for herself but only finds herself kicked out in the progress. But she knows she unlocked something. Something so big that could change everything in this town.

So many characters with different background but their paths, unknowingly, diverge within each other towards a destination no one expected to take. At first, it's so easy to just see them as just individual stories - but they merge into something intense,

It may seem strange to write a book as if it were a TV show - minus how scripts are actually written, of course. It makes the transition from one character to another easier. I'm not quite sure exactly how but I think, with that TV mindset, I'm so used to shows heading off into another scenes that it just feels natural. It works for me.

Some people may be turned off by the multiple authors working on this. I say this only because every author have their own writing style. It can be a bit jarring to be used to how this one author writes and then immediately jump to another author's writing style. It's not impossible, though. If you just focus on the story itself, it's not too bad.

If you're looking for a fantasy story full of secrets, fighting, romance (specifically between two cis males and two cis women - from what I can tell from the story, I believe they're all AMAB and AFAB) and deceits... this is the story for you.

I'm still excited to find out what will happen in the next season. : D

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