Nov 2
2017

Tor.com on The Stone in the Skull

The Stone in the Skull by Elizabeth Bear

“The same sustenance that I garnered from the prior trilogy in this world is on offer, here: a nuanced exploration of culture, sexuality, gender, and politics that never loses sight of the singular individual human in all that grandeur. Moments of humor and hubris are sprinkled throughout. The physical and emotional experiences of these people as people form the backbone of the novel as it spreads across its fantastical and massive scope.” — Tor.com

Oct 30
2017

Barnes & Noble SFF on The Stone in the Skull

The Stone in the Skull by Elizabeth Bear

“From its opening pages, Elizabeth Bear’s The Stone in the Skull wears its virtues on its sleeve, introducing us to two characters, Dead Man and the Gage, who are immediately enigmatic, yet also compelling and achingly human (doubly impressive for the Gage, a towering automaton powered by a human soul).

And this is where the book truly excels, beyond the magic-laced action scenes and top-tier worldbuilding—in the way Bear loads layered relationships between a whole host of characters into a relatively slim page count.

With every new story, Bear leaves her mark on the world. There is a weight to her worldbuilding, to the subtlety of her characterizations. Hers is a mark that identifies the boundlessness of epic fantasy, of worlds created by a singular mind, but shared and enjoyed by many.

The Stone in the Skull begins a fantastic new saga, reminding us that Elizabeth Bear is truly one of the premier fantasists of her generation. If you’ve yet to discover her work, there’s no better time.” — Barnes & Noble SFF

Oct 12
2017

Locus on The Stone in the Skull

The Stone in the Skull by Elizabeth Bear

“What works so well in just about every Bear book are her characters, which always feel finely drawn and solidly connected to the story they are in. The plot hews closely to the whole band-of-rogues-assemble-to-fight-stronger-band-of-foes, but this is a feature rather than a bug. Bear noodles around that trope like a jazz master and takes the story to some interesting places where she can examine privilege, toxic pasts, and gender identities – with, of course, magic and mayhem and mud. Lots and lots of mud.

It’s hard to talk about the first book in a trilogy, if only because it isn’t intended to feel like it comes to a complete closure. This book ends by setting the next part of the story up well and making this reader wish she had the next book within arm’s reach so that she can find out what happens next.” — Locus

Oct 9
2017

RT Book Reviews on The Stone in the Skull

The Stone in the Skull by Elizabeth Bear

“Bear skillfully weaves a brand-new saga into the landscape of her famed worlds from previous novels, hinting at the histories but not relying on them. The new stories and characters are fresh and captivating, from the young monarch with the creepiest drug addiction, to the elderly poet-warrior with the subversive skillset. There is little to critique here, though the romances can seem extraneous and unnecessary. The near-apocalyptic cliffhanger leaves the reader anxious for more. A definite must-read, and one to highlight in anticipation for the sequel.” — RT Book Reviews, 4 stars

Sep 27
2017

Library Journal starred review for The Stone in the Skull

The Stone in the Skull by Elizabeth Bear

“Two masterless mercenaries lead a caravan across the mountains known as the Steles of the Sky in this latest novel set in Bear’s lushly constructed “Eternal Sky” universe. The Dead Man was previously a loyal guard from the toppled Uthman Caliphate, while his partner is a Gage, a mechanical automaton who was once human. They have an urgent message to deliver to Mrithuri, the queen of one of the small Lotus Kingdoms, remnants of a shattered empire. Little do they know that they are walking into a war zone as enemies are poised to attack Mrithuri from all sides. Bear’s outstanding worldbuilding includes an India-inspired land, where the night sky is lit by a wash of stars brighter by far than the dark sun that rises each day. The diverse cast includes plenty of strong women, and the Dead Man and Gage are a team readers will want to follow for many more adventures. VERDICT “The Eternal Sky” trilogy (Range of Ghosts; Shattered Pillars; Steles of the Sky) is one of the great fantasy epics of the last decade, and Bear triumphantly returns to that setting, albeit a small corner that she has not previously explored.” — Library Journal, Starred Review

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