Retro Friday: Medair by Andrea K. Höst

Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Angie over at Angieville and focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc.

MedairHaving previously loved Andrea K. Höst’s sci-fi novels And All the Stars and the Touchstone trilogy, I picked up her Medair duology when I needed to be fully absorbed by a good novel. It’s funny because out of all of her books, I wanted to read this epic fantasy duology first but I didn’t get the chance to read them until recently. Once again, I would like to thank the author for providing a review copy of the omnibus edition which contains both The Silence of Medair and Voice of the Lost. I feel that both books have to be read together so I’m glad I got them in one edition.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

Medair an Rynstar returned too late to drive back the Ibisian invasion. Centuries too late.

When friend and enemy have become the same thing, what use are the weapons Medair planned to use to protect her Empire? There is no magic, no artefact, no enchanted trinket which can undo the past.

But no matter how Medair wishes to hide from the consequences of her failure, there are those who will not allow her the luxury of denying the present. Her war is already lost, but she carries weapons which could change the course of new battles.

With the skirmishes of war beginning, and hunters in near pursuit, it is her conscience Medair cannot escape. Whose side should she be on? What is she really running from?

Silence of MedairI was completely immersed in Medair’s world right from the start. I read the whole thing in just one weekend because I couldn’t get enough of the story and just had to reach the end as soon as I could. I wanted to be swept away into a wonderful world filled with magic and adventure and I’m happy to report that Medair lived up to my expectations. Having had prior experience reading Andrea K. Höst’s other novels, I knew there would be surprising twists and turns in both The Silence of Medair and Voice of the Lost and I was right. I was immediately intrigued by the premise – Medair is a Herald of her kingdom, tasked with finding a powerful magical object that will help her people win the war. She succeeded in finding what she was looking for, but she stopped to rest in a place outside of time and when she woke up, she discovered that 500 years have passed. Not surprisingly, Medair feels lost, with no idea how to move forward. A large part of the reader’s enjoyment of Medair would depend on whether one will be able to sympathize with her and the issues that she faces. Her narration is very introspective, going back and forth from the past to the present, and trying to reconcile the differences between them. There’s a lot of reflection on her part as she reluctantly becomes involved in making decisions that would irrevocably change the world she found herself in. I loved Medair’s character, I understood her hesitations, her feelings and her worries. She’s an intelligent and resourceful woman, loyal to her liege and her country, and inherently a good person. But completely at a loss with how much has been altered in her world. I do admit that there could have been less of her thoughts going around in circles, even Medair was self-aware enough to realize that she keeps doing that, but I wasn’t really bothered by it. I can see why the narration wouldn’t work for everyone but I’m delighted that I was completely engrossed by it. Aside from Medair, I was also invested in several other characters in the story and I loved seeing her interact with them even as she tries to keep a distance.

Voice of the LostThere’s a whole lot of history and political intrigue intertwined with the story, partly because of the invasion centuries ago, and also because of the alliances of the various governing bodies around the region. I enjoyed these aspects and how magic was also involved in all of it. I like that there weren’t any lengthy explanations on how the magic works but it never got confusing for me. I felt that it was seamlessly woven into the story. I believe that this review wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t talk about the romance in these two books. While I could see it coming, it was how the characters got there that mattered. In keeping with her personality and the situation she’s in, Medair doesn’t take her attraction to a certain someone lightly. As a result, there’s tension and ambiguity. I really had no idea how things would unfold between them. Andrea K. Höst has consistently surprised me with how she builds and develops relationships in her books. While I wasn’t exactly able to predict how things would end, I can say that there was a nice build up and I couldn’t see Medair’s story ending any other way. Similar to the Touchstone trilogy, I can see the Medair duology will be a very good reread. I look forward to finding the time for it. In the meantime, I need to work on convincing more readers to pick up her books because I seriously find it surprising that they’re not as well-known as they should be. I had a book hangover after reading these two books and the only solution I could think of was to start on another Andrea K. Höst title.

Other reviews:
Me and My Books

16 thoughts on “Retro Friday: Medair by Andrea K. Höst

  1. Whyyyy must I keep finding books I want to read?! I shall blame you for the enticing reviews. But I’m going to be firm with myself: I shall read the Touchstone trilogy first.

    • Hahaha Janice, the TBR pile just keeps growing! Feel free to blame me for encouraging you to read Andrea K. Host’s novels. I’m just glad you’re interested in the Touchstone trilogy.

      • Thanks for taking a chance! On her and Eileen Wilks, I just love to watch the ripples spread. Sartorias (Sherwood Smith) did a small update post on her LJ community for her books, Athanarel, asking about what people were reading and one of the readers whom I don’t know wrote that AKH had become one of her auto-buy authors. I always have an extra glow when I read stuff like this.

        You (bloggers and readers like you, Sartorias, Rachel) really share the word of mouth and bring the grassroots growth that is necessary to encourage enough sales that our favourite authors can feel encouraged to keep writing (MSW just recently released the cover of her newest Elantra book and the series keeps going strong – there will be a 16th Foreigner book by Cherryh this year… all of these writers aren’t George Martin or Robert Jordan or even Patrick Rothfuss in their reach – and honestly, if Game of Thrones wasn’t a successful TV series, I am fairly sure Martin’s series would have been stopped by now, due to his taken multiple years between single books – though admittedly I’ve never read it).

      • Oh yes, I used to be active on Athanarel (and Sounis) back when I was still using LJ. I can relate to how you feel – it’s always lovely when you find someone else who also loves one of your favorite lesser known authors. I am hoping that my enthusiastic recommendation of both Eileen Wilks and Andrea K. Host will encourage more readers to pick up their books. One of the things I love about being a book blogger is spreading the word about good books. It’s funny but there’s also a certain level of satisfaction that comes when you’re one of the first people to “discover” an author.

    • Oh yes! Both Medair and Touchstones are series that would be great rereads. I think what you said about how the romance develops would apply for both. 🙂

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