The Weavers of Saramyr: Braided Path 1 (Gollancz SF S.)

by Chris Wooding

Paperback, 2004



Call number




Gollancz (2004), Paperback


A richly textured, darkly evocative fantasy set in a beautifully realised fantasy world, the Saramyr trilogy tells the story of an empire that rules over a land being overwhelmed by evil. An evil that comes from within the empire's centre, a sect of magicians close to the throne intent on killing any child born with magical powers. But now the empress has given birth to just such a child and revolution is brewing. Akin to the works of Robin Hobb, this is a hugely involving fantasy set in a world with an enticing oriental flavour.

User reviews

LibraryThing member ragwaine
The world building was pretty cool and the writing wasn't bad, the plot was pretty interesting but the characters were really flat and forgettable. The bad guys had some disturbing habits that involved children so that was kind of shocking. If I was young and had a lot of free time I would
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definitely read this but I'm old and don't have time to waste on "average" books. Plus this is the start of a trilogy so I was worried about putting the effort in and then not being satisfied in the end.

Made it 130 pages in but now giving up.
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LibraryThing member wyvernfriend
The masks have power but the power corrupts. People don't know the truth about this power and where it's coming from. There are people who are aberrations being born and routinely these people are killed when discovered. Whether this is because they are a threat to the country or a threat to the
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weavers who control the masks is unknown.

The daughter of the Empress is a aberrant herself. At the same time a woman's family is killed, leaving her as the only survivor. These two having interwoven lives.

Interesting but somehow it just didn't do it for me. I didn't really care enough about the characters and sometimes the hopping between viewpoints jarred. At the same time it was a good read, it just didn't make me want to rush out and find more in the series.
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LibraryThing member saucyhp
I had a bit of a shock with this book! I really liked Poison and Alaizabel Cray but didn't enjoy this at all. I know its an adult novel rather than teen but I found it quite disturbing.
LibraryThing member TadAD
I thought this series had a rather novel concept...not just another Tolkien-wannabe world. The overall story was a little bit predictable so, once the novelty wears off, the second and third books get slightly lower marks.
LibraryThing member mbg0312
I just couldn't maintain interest in this one. He switched a bit too often between viewpoints when only one of the characters really interested me. I slogged through, but it didn't do much for me. I'm willing to keep trying - I picked up the first couple of chapters of a later book and was
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instantly sold, so I'm hoping he gets better in the series.
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LibraryThing member salimbol
Very solid start to a promising fantasy series. Pluses include the strong world-building, where the author appears to be drawing from Western, Middle Eastern and Asian history and mythology (and Asian horror, too, unless, I'm mis-reading the creepy shin-shin). He also has strong descriptive powers,
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and I really appreciated the preponderance of major female characters, not to mention his willingness to have bad things happen to good people in service of the plot and their journeys as characters (I have mixed feelings about some of the nasty violence itself, though). However, the characterisation itself is patchy - the seams certainly show here and there - and there are too many jumbled viewpoints. Having said this, I'm still definitely interested enough to seek out the second book in the series.
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LibraryThing member nordie
First book in the "The Braided Path" trilogy.

Here the fantasy empire ruling the land of Saramyr has an oriental flavour, a level of technology that allows rifles and bombs and a communications system relying on magic--the sorcery of the dreaded, masked Weavers.

By manipulating the magical Weave of
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the world, a kind of fantasy cyberspace, Weavers can not only send messages over any distance but manipulate minds, fight intangibly and kill. The use of the Weaving, and their masks, makes the weavers eccentric and mad and have revolting habits such as raping and killing small children. All other forms of magic talent are denounced as Aberrant and the talent-owners condemned to death.

Rebellion brews among the Empire's people and powerful noble factions when it emerges that the Heir-Empress Lucia is Aberrant, with gentle powers of communication with birds and earth-spirits. Meanwhile another girl, Kaiku, is orphaned when her family is both poisoned by an unknown hand and attacked by "shin-shin" demons. Kaiku soon finds that she herself is dangerously Aberrant, apt to send out waves of uncontrollable fire.

Kaiku makes a quixotic journey with unusual companions, and, by use of the mask that is her sole inheritance, enters a protected place to discover the grim secret of what's slowly poisoning the land. It is not, as the Weavers insist, the existence of Aberrants but rather the weavers themselves.

Kaiku and her friends join the Red Order, a sisterhood of trained Aberrants, in a desperate effort to save Lucia from the general bloodshed of the inevitable Imperial coup. Many characters fail to survive for the backlash expected in volume two.

Pretty enjoyable fare, and certainly one I intend to seek out the sequel(s) to
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Prix Imaginales (Nominee — 2005)
Grand Prix de l'Imaginaire (Winner — 2006)


Original publication date


Physical description

384 p.; 7.02 inches


0575075422 / 9780575075429
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