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Much Love

By G.S. Williams, editor, author of No Man An Island

Jul 21, 2008: When you strip away the details, every story is about one thing. Some stories are about war, or mystery, or friendship. A lot of stories are about love.

"Alisiyad" is one of those. But it does it so well that it reinvents the love story. Liseli and Russ start out as two awkward young adults who don’t get along, and events (and their hearts) conspire to thrust them together, strengthening their relationship through adversity and triumph, peril and tragedy.

Sarah Suleski’s skill with writing emotions is unparalleled. Period. Everything Russ or Liseli experiences comes across as natural, motivated, and realistic, despite the fantasy elements of the story. The feelings between them are so poignant that I often find the presence of other characters distracting.

The cast of characters comes across as superfluous, as they are playing roles in a fantasy story. To a certain extent, it works for the plot: Russ and Liseli are ordinary kids dropped into an extraordinary situation. The only other character with real weight is Alisiyad herself, the villain of the piece, who is truly narcissistic and vicious. It takes a rich, textured love to defeat an evil like that.

And there are few writers who can write rich, textured emotion like Sarah Suleski.

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