11 - Catwings Set by Ursula K. Le Guin
(I read the first book in the beginning of the year, but will comment here and consider the 4 books as one. They are very small.)
Catwings is the first in this series. It introduces us to a litter of very special cats: wigged cats. It is an adventure story for young kids (I mean, really young). It's about finding your place in the world even if you are different. And it's about friendship. And about children, who don't care about the cats being different as long as they can keep them. (4/5)
In Catwings Return, the kitties return to the city to try to find their mother. Instead they find a very scared sister (winged as well) who refuses to speak (the cats talk among themselves). Another adventure for catwings. And a very enjoyable read. (4/5)
Wonderful Alexander and the Catwings introduces us to a normal cat. And a very snob one at that. It is again about friendship, but is also about overcoming a trauma. And it is still a children's book. (4/5)
Jane On Her Own is about the little sister found on the second book. She goes back to the city to try to have adventures on her own. To me this is the best book in the collection. Although the main character is cat, the story is about people and their relation with animals, and what they expect to get out of them. (4.5/5)
12 - Priestess of the White by Trudi Canavan
Trudi Canavan is one of those authors that seems to have a fixed place on the fantasy bookshelf of any book store, but I had never read anything written by her, this book was my first. I enjoyed it, although it is very much like most the fantasy that is written nowadays.
I liked the two odd races presented, and the religious aspect of the differences between the tribes. I will most certainly read the next one in the series to find out what happens next.
(The next 3 books are a re-read of a series. I wanted to read the three books in one sitting, the first time I read them I had to wait about an year between books, for them to be published, and the experience is quite different. I called it my Bridei ReRead Marathon: 3 books in one week :D)
13 - The Dark Mirror by Juliet Marilier
I love this book. I love the way it's a historical novel, with elements of fantasy and you still believe it could have happen exactly like it's told. But I find that to true in all of Juliet's books.
I loved the story of Bridei, how he grows up to be a king. This being a reread, I knew what he would face and how some around him knew his path wouldn't be easy and helped him along (and usually by not being easy on him). I loved Tuala, and the almost sisterly love that she shared with Bridei, and seeing it turn into something more deep. And not getting the impression of incest when it happen.
This is a love story in essence, but there is a lot more to it. There is a clear political storyline, and it isn't there just to fill the background. It's important to everything that happens and it's one of the main strengths of the book.
14 - Blade of Fortriu by Juliet Marillier
Blade of Fortriu takes place five years after the end of The Dark Mirror, and the characters were not idle during that time. This book has two separate storylines, Bridei's and Faolan's. Faolan was introduced on the first book and soon became a favourite of mine (and all the readers, it seems), so it's no surprise when in my first read of the book I avidly read the parts relating to Faolan and Ana, while skimming Bridei's war campaign parts.
This time I was able to enjoy Bridei story that, like in the first book, has a political nature. I liked learning about what it meant to rule as king, the choices he made, and his anguishes. I also loved to read about Tuala, now being able to remove the (wrong!) image that I had of a meek girl from the first time reading. She still is as feisty as she was when younger!
What I wished that was better on this book was the connection between the storylines. It is there, but it's faint, and mostly lost in the romance and love triangle of Faolan's story. But still a very good read.
15 - The Well of Shades by Juliet Mariller
The Well of Shades was a book that I loved the first time I read, and loved even more the second time around. In the third volume of the series, Faolan also plays a very important part (actually we realize how vital he is to Bridei). It takes part immediately after the end of Blade of Fortriu, and again, has multiple storylines.
I loved the characters in this book, both old and new. Most of all, I loved the children, so well portrayed, and their relationship with the adults.
Sometime after I finished my first read (when details start to get hazy) I started having the feeling that Eile's was a kind of treat to Faolan, after the second book (like saying, you can't have Ana, take this red head instead). How wrong I was! How could I forget how amazing her character is, how things keep piling up on her, and she still has a will to live.
This book is on of my favourites, perhaps the favourite. I recommend it to everyone!