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The Light Ages av Ian R. MacLeod
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The Light Ages (urspr publ 2003; utgåvan 2004)

av Ian R. MacLeod (Författare)

Serier: Aether Series (1)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
6822425,907 (3.54)25
This "extraordinary alternate-history fantasy," set in an industrial London riven by class conflict and transformed by magic, is a steampunk classic (Booklist).   The discovery of aether changed everything; magic mined from the ground, it ushered in an Industrial Age seemingly overnight, deposing kings and rulers as power was transferred to the almighty guilds. Soon, England's people were separated into two distinct classes: those who dug up and were often poisoned by the miraculous substance, and those who profited from it.   Robert Borrows has always wanted more than the life of poverty and backbreaking toil into which he was born. During a visit with his mother to an isolated local manor, he discovers Annalise, the beautiful and mysterious changeling whom aether has magically remolded into something more than human. Years later, their paths will cross again in the filthy, soot-stained streets of London, where Robert preaches revolution while Annalise enjoys the privileges afforded to the upper class--the same social stratum that Robert is trying to overthrow. But even as they stand on opposite sides of the great struggle that divides their world, they are united by a shocking secret from their childhood. And their destinies will be forever entwined when their world falls to ruin. A finalist for the World Fantasy Award, The Light Ages "brings a Dickensian life to the pounding factories of London" (The Denver Post) and "should hold great appeal to readers who love the more sophisticated fantasy of Michael Swanwick, John Crowley or even China Mi#65533;ville" (Publishers Weekly).   The Light Ages continues with The House of Storms, set one century later.… (mer)
Medlem:Pezski
Titel:The Light Ages
Författare:Ian R. MacLeod (Författare)
Info:Pocket Books (2004), 464 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:
Taggar:to-read

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The Light Ages av Ian R. MacLeod (2003)

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engelska (23)  norska (1)  Alla språk (24)
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This book has all the feel of a Victorian England setting, but that's not quite right. It's set in an alternate England, and date of divergence appears to 1798 (although that's not 100% clear), and the story takes places three Ages after that--about three centuries.

The cause of the divergence is the discovery of aether, which makes possible a magic-based, Guild-controlled economy with a social structure much like Victorian England, only more repressive and with less hope for change. Guilds control all the really useful work, and all the wealth, and membership in a guild is a secure spot in the social structure. Unfortunately, working with aether carries with it the risk of becoming a Changeling, or, to use this society's ruder word, a troll--a mutant, essentially, usually monstrous. Trolls, or Changelings, even former Guild members, have no rights, and get locked up in warehouses wear they can, sometimes, be experimented upon. The Light Ages is the story of Robert Borrows, a young boy whose mother becomes a troll and is taken away, and who is later befriended by a Guild Grandmaster who apparently has some connection with his mother from years ago. Between the Grandmaster's strange behavior, and the differently strange behavior of a beautiful girl his own age who turns out to be a really odd sort of Changeling, Robert begins to suspect something of the dark secret stalking the Guilds. It's not until he runs away to London and experiences both the life of an unguilded, edges-of-the-law laborer and radical agitator, and the life of the wealthy high Guild families, that he truly starts to realize what a house of cards this all is.

It's an interesting world, and there's an interesting story in here, but Robert Borrows is both an amazingly passive protagonist, and annoyingly slow at catching on to anything involving people.

Good, but not as good as it ought to be. ( )
  LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
When I picked up this book, I was looking for some serious steampunk fiction.
Perhaps there is too much magic present in The Light Ages for my tastes, but I couldn't even finish it.
Seldom do I ever abandon a book. I may come back to it at some point. ( )
  TheDavisChanger | Dec 22, 2010 |
So basically it's like Victorian times, but not really, because there are references to Victorian times sprinkled throughout the book as having happened a loooong time ago. But society and industry have stagnated at a certain level, due to the country's dependence on the substance aether to make things just plain work better. There's no innovation or real change due to the fact that it's just not needed, and society is stuck in a rigid class system based not on peerage but "guilds", which are kind of like unions but also kind of like a caste system.

Aether also has a dangerous side - too much exposure to it can change a person, giving them either powers or just making them horrendous, and those people are scorned and kept in asylums as horrific as Bedlam.

The book is the story of one boy growing up in the land, and going through the time of upheaval that marks the end of one Age and the beginning of the next. It's the story of his family and how it is affected by aether and the guild system, and how he in turn reacts to those things. It's also the story of how he meets and falls in love with Annalise, a mysterious girl around his age that he meets one day on a trip with his mother.

This is quite a good book. The writing is dense and full of description, and there were times when reading on the train or in the kitchen at work I didn't have the best time following along with it - but that is fully my fault, not the author's. The story is complex, nuanced, and utterly realistic - too much so, almost, on the infamous Butterfly Day and in the end, with the unicorn.

If you like complex stories, with a dose of realistic politics, and an interesting fantasy twist, then this is the book for you. ( )
1 rösta g33kgrrl | Jul 2, 2010 |
The descriptions are good, which was what I liked with the book, but I kind of miss plot and character developements, everyone read like puppets, and about as engaging.
  mummimamma | Mar 1, 2010 |
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» Lägg till fler författare (4 möjliga)

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Ian R. MacLeodprimär författarealla utgåvorberäknat
Miller, EdwardOmslagmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Stone, SteveOmslagmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat

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Wikipedia på engelska (1)

This "extraordinary alternate-history fantasy," set in an industrial London riven by class conflict and transformed by magic, is a steampunk classic (Booklist).   The discovery of aether changed everything; magic mined from the ground, it ushered in an Industrial Age seemingly overnight, deposing kings and rulers as power was transferred to the almighty guilds. Soon, England's people were separated into two distinct classes: those who dug up and were often poisoned by the miraculous substance, and those who profited from it.   Robert Borrows has always wanted more than the life of poverty and backbreaking toil into which he was born. During a visit with his mother to an isolated local manor, he discovers Annalise, the beautiful and mysterious changeling whom aether has magically remolded into something more than human. Years later, their paths will cross again in the filthy, soot-stained streets of London, where Robert preaches revolution while Annalise enjoys the privileges afforded to the upper class--the same social stratum that Robert is trying to overthrow. But even as they stand on opposite sides of the great struggle that divides their world, they are united by a shocking secret from their childhood. And their destinies will be forever entwined when their world falls to ruin. A finalist for the World Fantasy Award, The Light Ages "brings a Dickensian life to the pounding factories of London" (The Denver Post) and "should hold great appeal to readers who love the more sophisticated fantasy of Michael Swanwick, John Crowley or even China Mi#65533;ville" (Publishers Weekly).   The Light Ages continues with The House of Storms, set one century later.

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