Friday Firsts – The Stone and the Skull by Elizabeth Bear


Friday Firsts is a new meme that will run every Friday here on Tenacious Reader. It will feature the first few sentences/paragraph of my current book and my first impressions as well. It’s meant to be a quick and easy way to share a bit about what I am reading, and I would love to hear others join in sharing their current reads as well.

The mountain wore a mirrored mask. Ice sheathed the sheer face rising above both a steep river valley and the melancholy man in the red coat below. That ice reflected a pale sun that blazed light without heat. The glacier shimmered against a sky like glass, so limpid and still that it seemed each of the encircling peaks held its breaths against some whispered promise.

The ice-gilt mountains were themselves reflected, and bent toward a vanishing point in the polished egg-shape of another mirrored mask, this one much smaller. This mirror made up the face— the entire head— of a brass man who toiled mechanically up the slope of the notch below and between the snow-bright peaks. A wrap of cowl had fallen back from his featureless metal skull. His heavy hands gleamed as if they wore brass gauntlets. His brass feet were strapped into iron-thorned crampons without benefit of boots.

He climbed without urgency.

The crampon spikes bit into the ice of a river made into stone by the cold. A hawser thick as a woman’s wrist draped over the brass man’s shoulder. It stretched behind him on a weighty arc, reaching back to the curved prow of a strange ship: square-rigged, boasting a lofty reptilian figurehead gallantly painted in red and gold— but resting on two curved, ice-encased runners that bore it over the surface of the stone-hard river as if glass slid oiled on glass. A pilot stood on the little platform at the back of the bowsprit, peering up at the slopes above through a glass. Though it was early in the winter for avalanches, it was never too early for care.

Behind that ship was another, its dragon head limned in azure with copper gilt…

Bear, Elizabeth (2017-10-10). The Stone in the Skull: The Lotus Kingdoms, Book One (Kindle Locations 52-65). Tom Doherty Associates. Kindle Edition.


My First Impressions

I’ll be honest, I’m unsure about this one right now. I feel like if I just read one page, I enjoy it and like the prose most of the time. But bringing it all together, something is making my interest wane. Hoping I get pulled into the overall story more. I have also developed a preference for one POV, which makes the others harder.

What are you reading right now? Did it start out strong? Feel free to share in the comments!


18 thoughts on “Friday Firsts – The Stone and the Skull by Elizabeth Bear”

  1. Bear has been complete hit or miss with me: Karen Memory was a great read, and her story, In Libres, is one of my favorite; but I barely finished Range of Ghosts and it was struggle to even do that… the main reason I’d want to read this one is because of the Anderon cover.

    But personally, I’m working on Vol. 2 of The Two of Swords by K.J. Parker now.

  2. I’ve been so busy with life lately that I haven’t been able to finish a novel in a couple of weeks, so I’ve been reading short stories instead. Hopefully they will get me out of my slump! I have never read Elizabeth Bear, but I’m anxious to. I hope this book kicks in for you soon!

  3. I also never finished Range of Ghosts but I ended up liking this one. I know what you mean though – it does take a little while to pull you in.
    I hope it works out for you.
    Lynn 😀

  4. I have enjoyed Bear’s writing before – but the start of this one isn’t snagging my interest much… There is a great deal of descriptive ‘tell’.

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