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The Soprano Sorceress
by L E Modesitt, Jr.

classifications: Fantasy / Heroic / Dramatic

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The Soprano Sorceress is book of interesting contrasts. A no one from our world is magically transported to a magical land, and proves to be it's saviour. Yet, this person is a woman, and is not popular in the feudal, male-dominated society in which she finds herself. Especially as her power in this new land become apparent.

This is an old-style fantasy story, but it is exploring modern themes. Late twentieth century equality brought face to face with medieval predjudices. The result is an interesting version of the classic fanatasy story, as Anna, the heroine, has to fight chauvanism and ignorance as much as the enemy armies. Her solutions to both problems are often unexpected, certainly for the inhabitants of Erde, and can cause more problems than they solve. This results in a precarious ride for Modesitt's heroine, and though her survival is assured (this being the first book in a series), the tension is never really lessened. Modesitt helps this by showing awareness that the greatest defeat is not necessarily death - Anna's ongoing vitality is sometimes the least of her problems.

For the most part, Modesitt's characters are well written. Anna does perhaps cope with the sudden transportation and resultant necessities of warfare too well (she seems remarkably good at pushing disquieting thoughts out of her mind), but the hints dropped about her past do an adequate job of making such strength of character realistic.

Erde is sufficiently well described and thought out for the story. Anything necessary and relevant to the story is logical and self-consistent, but there is no sign of the excessive detail and richness that lays waiting behind some other fantasy epics. This is not necessarily a problem, depending on your preferences. I never felt anything lacking from the story because of this myself, and it is arguable that time is better spent on the story than on unnecessary background information.

While not being astoundingly groundbreaking, The Soprano Sorcess manages to be different enough to stand out in the crowded fantasy genre, and surpsingly addictive. Highly recommended.

Wanderer (October 11th, 2004, 3:25 pm)

Sounds interesting, i might try to find that.

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