The Midnight Land PDF/EPUB ß The Midnight Epub /

The Midnight Land (The Zemnian Trilogy, #1) [BOOKS] ✯ The Midnight Land (The Zemnian Trilogy, #1) By E.P. Clark – Librarian Note This is an alternate cover edition for ASIN B016SF72G0Honorable Mention Fantasy 2015 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards As younger sister to the Empress of all of Zem’ and the only one Librarian Note This is an alternate cover edition for ASIN BSFGHonorable Mention Fantasy INDIEFAB Book of the The Midnight Epub / Year Awards As younger sister to the Empress of all of Zem’ and the only one possessing her foremothers’ gifts of clairvoyance Slava is both one of the most powerful and powerless people in the Known World Desperate to escape the intrigue and hostility of her sister’s kremlin Slava takes off on an expedition to the Midnight Land the uninhabited unmapped tundra on the Northern edge of Zem’ But as she travels North Slava discovers that it is than just the world of women that covets her gifts and that fate is pushing her to become a most unlikely hero Combining high fantasy with motifs from classical Russian literature this is both a gripping coming of age tale and a subversive exploration of gender empathy and morality.

10 thoughts on “The Midnight Land (The Zemnian Trilogy, #1)

  1. B.M.B. Johnson B.M.B. Johnson says:

    As an author it may seem somewhat ironic that I find it difficult writing reviews for other people's booksIf the book is good it's much easier Type off a few things that I liked give it a thumbs up or a number of stars and then move on However if a book such as EP Clark's Midnight Land is fantastic world building subtle and profound this task becomes much difficult The struggle then becomes writing a review which actually LIVES UP to the book it's intended to recommendThe complexity of the Midnight Land also adds to this struggle At it's heart the book is not so much a feminist work as it is an infused matriarchal one I would note that this infusion isn't something male readers should find any struggle with This world is after all a lived in matriarchal world with no preaching of female dominance or bashing of male centered ideals Not that I would have necessarily had a problem with that point of view personally It is a rich world of backstabbing and political intrigue down trodden societies and bitter rulersThe literary center of gravity is a young woman Krasnoslava Tsarinorvna or Slava for short who has a particular gift the ability to sense the emotions in others People have always looked to her with disdain or fear and as such she's never found her place in the world a fantastical setting in medival Russia a particularly a pleasant one Not to mention that her life in the kremlin was not open for much personal growth So when a chance arrives to take a perilous trek to the uncharted Midnight Land Slava jumps at the chance to leave her static existance with her people and her continually graying familySlava is unskilled and without much stamina on her new adventure but thanks to the watchful eyes of her new friends physically grows stronger and ableShe also learns that her mystical powers once thought a burden might not such a weakness After rescuing an elk from slaughter by one the members of the party she uickly feels self conscious and of an odd outsider However the next day the party after becoming lost in a dark forest in which the paths seemingly have been magically restructured to entrap them is saved by the familiar animalLater Slava thinking to be in a dream state appears to join a fox in spirit form and redirects the scout team away from dangerIn the end the Midnight Land was not such an obvious land of mystery and fantastical intrigue however it does open up a world of spirituality into the narrative which becomes a frightening and possible new adversary for Slava She soon finds there are entities within this spirit world who have a great interest in Slava's talent and wish to even wrench it from her if necessaryThis is a story of human discovery and spiritual growth Slava has to face both on her journey to the Midnight Land and back againI am greatly looking forward to the second book in this saga which appears to open up a grand story for the leader of the party Olga Vasilisovna The true ruler of another kremlin which has fallen into disarray in her absenceBMB

  2. Alan Clark Alan Clark says:

    Such intrigue In The Midnight Land Part One The Flight The Zemnian Trilogy Book 1 E P Clark has written a fantastic story of a young woman’s emotional growth while wrestling with what is both gift and curse—an overwhelming sense of empathy for others Her name is Slava As a princess within a royal court of scheming back biting duplicitous family members and courtiers she endures debilitating ambivalence as a result of both hating those scheming for their self serving nature and having compassion for their use of such strategy to survive within a dog eat dog world Her growth truly begins when she leaves that world and is thrust among common folk within a beautiful vast and deadly wilderness full of mysteries magical entities and sorcerers I will say no but that I highly recommend this title and that I’m off to begin the next volume in the Midnight Land series

  3. A.M. Justice A.M. Justice says:

    455 stars Slava has a power that makes her the mirror that reflects reality and she is one of the most genuine characters ever to take center stage in a fantasy novel The Flight begins with a trial and ends with a curse and in between Slava third in line for the throne of 'Zem undergoes travails that transform her from a sad insecure princess with no place in the world to a powerful leader at the center of the world It's an enormously satisfying transformationI loved many things about this novel but first and foremost was the emotional wallop It's been a long time since I've cried so much while reading Clark slowly builds Slava's confidence through a series of interactions with her empire's subjects in which her strong sense of empathy something her sister the empress of 'Zem sees as a great weakness permits her to make connections with people and turn them toward wiser or productive paths in their lives Her empathic powers eventually manifest as a magical ability to form psychic connections with animals and tree spirits called leshiye and her impulse toward mercy rather than vengeance becomes central to the plot and the evolution of her character from someone who believes herself weak to a woman of powerTraditional notions of weakness and strength are turned upside down throughout the book in many ways but one of the most striking and entertaining is the flipped gender relationships In 'Zem women have primacy in every way from legal status to cultural notions of the superior sex Men are still physically larger and stronger in 'Zem but their physical strength is used as a rationale for their inferiority Men are believed to be brutes incapable of rational thought whereas women are considered naturally intelligent and capable than men Every old fashioned notion of women's inferiority appears in The Midnight Land flipped around in sexuality women are natural takers and therefore it is acceptable for women to have multiple lovers while men's virtue must be protected In marriage men go to live with their wives' families and are subject to abuse by their fathers in law for their own good In government and business men are considered fit to be only guards or warriors and when the death of a wife or mother leaves a man in a leadership position he must contend with cultural bias that undermines his ability to effectively manage his affairs These gender relationships have little to do with the plot but were a brilliantly done and highly entertaining part of the world buildingThe world itself is based oninspired by Russian geography and myths The names could be a mouthful but the descriptions of the landscape as Slava travels through forest and tundra to the far north in mid winter are spectacular Mythological beings such as the leshiye play a big part in the plot and I enjoyed this taste of a new to me mythologyTwo negatives forced me to knock off half a star First the novel could have benefitted from some pruning The plot takes a while to get going and many scenes run on too long with looping redundant exposition of Slava's thoughts I suspect some of the redundancy is deliberate as Slava slowly finds her confidence but it sometimes became tiresome and could have been trimmed Second the book ends very abruptly and to finish the story the reader must read part two The Gift The Flight is very long and so is The Gift so I can understand why Clark chose to split the narrative in half but for me the end would have been satisfying if it had come after one of the very well done climactic scenes a bit earlier in the novel

  4. Dustin Dustin says:

    AM Justice wrote a fabulous review and it is because of her opinions of the book that I knew about it in the first place Thank you friend

  5. Lenora Good Lenora Good says:

    There are some things you might wish to know before buying this book1 This book ends and flows straight into Part Two so if you're enjoying this book buy Part II before you finish so you won't have to wait2 You really should consider calling your local hotel and finding out when their cheap rates are—usually a week end—and book yourself a room with room service That way you won't be home to be interrupted by starving kids dogs or spouse And you won't feel guilty either After all you deserve to pamper yourself Settle back put your feet up forget the house—it will be waiting when you go home prepare for a great and fun journeyIf you enjoy adult fairy tales with lots of depth you're in for a real treat If you liked Katherine Arden's books The Bear and the Nightingale The Girl in the Tower you will love these books Based I think on Russian fairytales Clark takes us on an adventure like none I've been on beforeZemnia is a country ruled by women and Slava is the younger half sister to Vladya the Tsarina She is literally the second heir in waiting behind her niece and serves little to no useful purpose The chance for adventure away from her kremlin arises and Slava takes it It is a coming of age book but not like the normal sort I've read The adventure takes her to the northern edges of the Zemnian empire she must travel through dark forests filled with woodland sprites magical animals and fear to be overcome Once above the sun line Slava and her party are on the tundra in darkness and the bitter winter coldShe loses her soft edges learns about her 'gift' and that others desire both it and her At least until they come face to face with it This book also gives us a sneaky peek at gender role reversal and how we think about those of the opposite genderA well crafted book filled with characters I'd love to have over for dinner Or go adventuring with

  6. James Hockley James Hockley says:

    This is a very original and refreshing piece of work If pushed I would declare it as somewhere between Tolstoy Tolkien and CS Lewis Make of that what you will I don't think this is something I would naturally gravitate towards but I'm glad I have read it It's goodTo set the scene what we have is a fantasy world which very closely resembles Russia I'm going to say it is medieval Russia from the environment but that's really rather irrelevant it absolutely tastes smells and sounds Cyrillic This is somewhat of a deviation from many fantasy books I have read including mine which focus on Western or Far Eastern societal regimes Hence this is a very refreshing readBut this is not an off hand attempt at creating originality No indeed; our author has an excellent understanding of Russia and incorporates many aspects into her world so it tastes entirely authentic One particular aspect that stood out for me was the naming conventions; everyone has a range of names titles and it is a complex set of rules that governs what names are used when which is why the author lays out the details at outset in an Epigraph For me I found this a bit overwhelming and found myself trying gloss over the freuent use of names in dialogue but that doesn't mean it was wrong In fact this adds authenticity which is appreciated but ultimately I had to read it in a way I was comfortable with It doesn't mean I can't appreciate the excellent concept behind the proseSo we have a medieval Russian landscape before us; but definitely not Russia What happens then? Without giving anything too much at least away the story follows a Princess daughter of the Empress no less as she surprisingly jumps at the chance of a long and arduous trek to the Midnight Land where the sun never rises; the Arctic Circle on the Earth we know and love Slava the princess has certain abilities that she struggles with in her daily life and this trek initially offers her a means of escape; though it ultimately also allows her to see her gifts in a new favourable? light So it is really about Slava's journey 1 to the Midnight Land; and 2 to understand herself Beyond that there is not too much in terms of weighty story to deal with though the experience of travelling through Zem' is intriguing in itself That being said we end the book with a dose of political gunpowder suggesting that the wider story will escalate in forthcoming books but I would say that this only truly reveals itself in the closing stages though you do start getting whiffs a bit earlier onSo with the scene set what is to like about this book? Apart from the refreshing perspective of courseOne of the key features of the society we look upon is that it is absolutely female dominated; and this is a really interesting perspective Man is considered to be a bit like a domesticated animal which is amusing but the way it is all worked out fits nicely and makes sense And this permits absorption into this alternative worldAnd other aspects are also very well written One of the key concepts of the journey is that they head to the Midnight Land in winter hence the concepts of morning and evening are blown away And this is handled very well rightly confusing the characters and posing notable problems Great attention to detailAnd my third plus point is that it is very well written The author is a bit of a dab hand in poetry and short stories by all accounts so this is of little surprise but the text does have a slightly flowery feel to it which absolutely fits the story I may suggest that in places there are just a few too many words and that some sentences are too long and winding but the prose is definitely closer to the mark than away from itOn the flip side were there any aspects that I would change? Well yes I think there are My first suggestion would be that in my view this book is probably just a bit too long It's not a slog by any means but I just have the feeling that it's perhaps heavier than it needed to be given the events that occurSo what's the cause of this? I don't think this is actually a conseuence of stalled action at any point the story moves at a constant pace; it is just perhaps a bit slow I think the length is therefore actually a function of the narrative and the stylistic aspects of prose and in particularOur key character Slava has a tendency to reinforce facts that can be relatively easily ascertained from the events in the book It is nice to hear her view but maybe she expresses it in the narrative too freuently;She also has a tendency this is prevalent earlier on and may actually be a character trait that the author is trying to highlight before the journey in which case I stand corrected to drift into streams of consciousness which are a bit awkward They are definitely less common later on but they are lodged in my recollection and hence I have made this point;And perhaps the literary edge to the prose tends to lengthen statements beyond their necessary length which drags the text that little bit too farThe only other aspect I might challenge on is the arc itself It feels like this is Slava's revelation if you will and though she is a really nice character I might like to get a bit immersed in the deeper political intrigue Of course this isn't actually feasible because the story follows Slava and she is isolated for near enough the entire novel but that won't stop me expressing the view And this isn't saying that there aren't wider aspects in the book they just don't seem to be knitted to some grand scheme that threatens the balance This is all about SlavaThat being said it the gunpowder at the end does mean that I am inclined to read on so what do I know And the author has kindly gifted the second volume too so I have no excuseOh and another aspect that is really interesting is the magical interpretation a very important consideration in fantasy The author has done this well and has worked within clear boundaries whilst also expanding the magical scope seamlessly ExcellentSo all in all a good read And in case this is relevant to you I found that this book was enjoyed alongside the following soundtrackUlrich Schnauss Jonas MunkI was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review And in fact I was also gifted the second book in the series which I've made a note to read some time soon

  7. Angie Angie says:

    Majestic World building Highly recommend this first book in the Zemnian series You are immediately immersed in the unfamiliar and complex world of Zem’ with several layers of social rules and tensions A young royal lady Slava is second in line to her Tsarina half sister Slava is aimless yet filled with disdain for the shady and treacherous ones that insinuate themselves into palace life A spark is lit within when she seeks to join a caravan that intends to travel beyond the established borders of the Zemnian Empire When Slava is granted leave to embark she begins a magical journey that engages her strengths and stretches in unforeseen ways This girl woman will engage perplex disappoint and redeem herself as she begins to understand her own heart and destiny Slava encounters new teachers allies foes and a bit of romance As a reader you’ll be thankful that this is a series Enjoybut don’t start this book too late at night or you’ll be up until the wee hours before reluctantly setting it aside

  8. Fran Tullo Fran Tullo says:

    Amazing readCould not put this book down I loved the mix of fairy tales and court intrigue and I love the depth of the characters and their personal growth It does have a cliffhanger ending so be prepared to want the next book in the series

  9. A.A. Bavar A.A. Bavar says:

    The main arc in the novel The Midnight Land revolves around both the physical and emotional growth of our heroine Krasnoslava Tsarinovna nicknamed Slava and her adventures with a band of intrepid explorers The world created by Ms Clark and the descriptions of the Russian landscape are vivid and full of detail marks of a clearly talented writer However exceptionally long sentences excessive telling and describing and slow story development makes for a challenging read Is the story original? It has the foundation but fails in execution There are elements in the story such as the leshaya that are uite original and well developed The reversal of roles between men and women is also interesting but becomes pointless since the women behave similarly to the men they despise The main arc which has the potential for all sorts of adventure turns into the traditional heroine goes on an adventure to find herself Further Slava’s adventure of self discovery is riddled with so many pages of thought and description that the pace of the story slows down to a crawl This definitely took away from the tension buildup and the drive to read ahead Finally the continuous repetition of Slava’s doubts and self pity becomes annoying since we are introduced to Slava’s character immediately and know what challenges she is facingDo the characters subplots and main arc work? Yes and no The main arc of the story takes way too long to develop which is a big problem as a whole By the time Slava accepts her challenge and finally grows into the heroine she needs to be it’s way too late Also the main premise for Olga’s adventure which takes Slava out into the world is abandoned too readily Originally the purpose of the expedition is to explore and map the north lands Exploration by definition implies facing difficulties challenges unforeseen situations and even death So it’s very strange that Olga – who is supposed to be a definite bad ass – gets frustrated so uickly when they do face challenges and decides to uit It seems like the original adventure itself is an excuse to take us to the interesting subplot at the end of part one involving Olga’s mother This however is 1400 pages awayAre the characters well developed? Yes and no There are way too many characters to keep track of and most of them act and feel despondent most of the time so they meld together and become very one dimensional Focusing on the main ones Slava Dunya Dimitri and Dima are well developed with uniue voices Vladislava who is introduced at the end of part one is also very strong Olga is a contradiction in terms since she starts out very strong but behaves inconsistently to her original characterDoes the story move at a good pace and keep you wanting ? Unfortunately no As I said before there is way too much repetitious thought and description There are good action seuences but the telling rather than showing takes away from the tensionDoes the cover work? The cover needs to be much mysterious and darkIs the manuscript well edited? The formatting on my tablet looked good although I thought the font is a bit too largeThere are small editing issues with missing or repeated words in sentences Also sentences are way too long with excessive use of ellipses commas separating dependent clauses colons etc The manuscript will benefit greatly with another round of editingNames are often confusing Most characters have short and long names which can become taxing when they are used interchangeably by other characters I understand that sometimes the situation calls for formality but it’s still confusing and causes rereading of passages For example Olga is also referred to by Olya and her full name That’s three names for one character Also at the end of book one there is another SlavaThe dialogue structure is sometimes difficult to follow when Slava has a thought intertwined with another character’s dialogue These thoughts need to be separated into their own paragraphsFinally the issue that most bothered me throughout the manuscript was the incorrect use of the subjunctive tense of the verb “to be” In other words were vs wasIn conclusion for readers who enjoy long descriptive passages and continuous internal monologue The Midnight Land fits the billI received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest non reciprocal review

  10. Scott Spotson Scott Spotson says:

    The setting was enticing—a Russian landscape with snow and ice tundras and steppes and forest so thick one cannot see the stars Make no mistake this book has a heavy Slavic influence with a healthy dosage of names ending in “ov” and “ova” or the likeThe story though was cumbersome The aim was modest to survive a long trek by dogsled from one ruling capital to another and to avoid ambushes by malevolent spirits and bandits As a story grounded in fantasy it wasn’t much to entice a reader It was very heavy on character development rather than thrills This book reminded us many times that the main heroine Slava has a gift as a seer and that she is widely known for the uality of mercy I think the opening chapter when she advises a ruling monarch to spare the life of a criminal established her forgiveness and sweet nature There was a lot of flowery description and observations that the author felt she needed as a build up as gradual as that of a pot on low heat before it gets to boil to the point where there were several paragraphs with than ten sentences and over several such paragraphs to continue a point in the storyThere were some terrific moments in the book when Slava talks telepathically to forest animals or to the spirits However the wordy nature of the entire story meant that I had to work harder than I wanted as reader to separate the wheat from the chaff so to speak It should be the author’s job before the reader gets to read the book At the end of the book the author points out she is intent upon writing a seven volume series of Slava’s story I would have preferred a stand alone story with a goal and conclusion that thrills me Then the author is free to develop a new story continuing with the same settings and main characters but the first book is where the reader starts and should be spellbinding on its own Or maybe there was a very exciting premise in book two which I do not know about which then should have been combined into a much shorter book one There was some political intrigue but again I had to wade through mountains of repeated themes Slava’s opinions of herself and others her extra sensory gifts trekking through the trail Slava’s concerns about what to do next before I could be excited by the political developments Having dozens of names in the book with some used only for one chapter or a few chapters made it a little hard to keep track of the cast of characters especially since when many of them are heard of but not seen In short I would suggest purging a lot of Slava’s inner thoughts except when vital to the plot the dialogue about what to do next on the trek some is necessary but not on an everyday basis and some of Slava’s encounters with animals that suggest a way out and save the group there were a bit too many after a while Observations that aren’t important such as the scenery or about Slava’s minor developments should be reduced to a short sentence or two sentences rather than three pages of lengthy paragraphs I think half the words could be eliminated without detracting from the story And perhaps a arresting rationale for making the trek in the first place with reader’s anticipation of how dangerous and important the end result is

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