fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews Midori Snyder The Oran Trilogy The Queen's Quarter 1. New MoonNew Moon by Midori Snyder

Midori Snyder set out to write a trilogy, because that is what fantasy authors were supposed to do, and she wrote one of the best trilogies I have ever read. This little known gem, in its first printing named The Queen’s Quarter and in its second printing referred to as The Oran Trilogy, is a multi-layered treasure of a story.  It is a story not only about the personal struggles of four young heroines, but of the country’s quest for political freedom, and the land’s fight to find magical stability. Snyder balances all three of these plot threads and weaves an engrossing tale of enduring worth.

New Moon focuses on the story of the Fire Queen Zorah who has ruled the country of Oran for 200 years. Oran was traditionally ruled by four queens together, one for each of the elements, but Zorah killed her fellow queens and brought in the rival Silean army to help rule Oran under her sole reign. In the 200 years that have passed since the Burning, she has had any child who shows the ability to do magic killed to prevent any challenge to her throne from arising. The Oran Trilogy follows the story of four young women who manage to escape being killed and how they find each other, and find themselves in the process.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsMidori Snyder manages to balance beautiful writing with a street-smart, underbelly slang and gutter meanness in some of her characters. She writes fully faceted characters who are flawed and human and aren’t heroic but manage to accomplish what needs to get done anyway. She introduces many characters in this first book, but gives each one such a distinctive personality that the reader never loses track of who each person is. Each character plays an important role, though sometimes that role will not be obvious for several chapters or even into the following books. The action is tightly plotted, and the people who seem to be scenery early on turn out to be important later. In particular, the character Jobber crackles with energy. His personality etches itself onto every page and into your mind, and the minor scene of him in the forge was written with such powerful imagery that I remembered it for fifteen years. (This was the reason I purchased my own copy of The Oran Trilogy when it was reissued.) In addition, Snyder balances the political and social tensions with deftness, making even the antagonists understandable, if not sympathetic. She also creates a richly detailed world, with varied cultures and languages, and she manages to pull off a plot twist that left me completely surprised and yet made complete sense.

My only criticism of the book is that the editing is bad in the Firebird Fantasy editions. The editing gets better by the third volume, but someone should have fired the copy editor. If you buy New Moon, buy the other two books in the series as well, because you won’t want to stop reading when you get to the last page. I can recommend New Moon for anyone who enjoys excellent fantasy literature.

The Oran Trilogy — (1989-1993) Young adult. Publisher: This fantasy novel of magic, murder and intrigue, describes the land of Oran, ruled by the autocratic Fire Queen, who 200 hundred years ago destroyed her rival queens of Earth, Air and Water. However, now there are rumours of an insurrection.

Midori Snyder The Oran Trilogy (Queen's Quarter) 1. New Moon, 2. Sadar's Keep, 3. Beldan's Fire Midori Snyder The Oran Trilogy (Queen's Quarter) 1. New Moon, 2. Sadar's Keep, 3. Beldan's Fire Midori Snyder The Oran Trilogy (Queen's Quarter) 1. New Moon, 2. Sadar's Keep, 3. Beldan's Fire


  • Ruth Arnell

    RUTH ARNELL (on FanLit's staff January 2009 — August 2013) earned a Ph.D. in political science and is a college professor in Idaho. From a young age she has maxed out her library card the way some people do credit cards. Ruth started reading fantasy with A Wrinkle in Time and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — books that still occupy an honored spot on her bookshelf today. Ruth and her husband have a young son, but their house is actually presided over by a flame-point Siamese who answers, sometimes, to the name of Griffon.

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