For this new seasonal list of the best SFF characters I’ve read this year, my second pick is the Princess Atiana Radieva Vostroma from Bradley P. Beaulieu’s Lays of Anuskaya trilogy, of which I’ve read the first two books so far, The Winds of Khalakovo (review) and The Straits of Galahesh (review). These books are fantasy novels through and through, with a really great Russian twist to them, as you can no doubt tell from the character’s name.
Hit the break to see why I picked this character.
Bradley’s Lays of Anuskaya series was on my radar this year thanks to all my Night Shade Books reading last year and it ended up going on my “25 Series To Read In 2013” challenge. When I read the first book earlier this year in February, I was quite struck with the scope of the world-building and with the characters. Not to mention the fact that I loved the (inspired-by) Russian setting, despite sometimes getting lost with the names and the familiar names. The Winds of Khalakovo is definitely one of my favourite books of the year and Bradley one of my favourite authors.
The second novel, set some time after the events of the first novel, goes further with the world-building and deals in concepts and cultures and locales that we did not see in the first book. That gets some automatic points from me, for sure, because I love that aspect in a second or third novel. Fleshing out the setting created and introduced in the first book is one of the most important things in a sequel that I look for, and Straits of Galahesh is enjoyable for that fact. But, some of the characterisation and the pacing did suffer this time around, so it wasn’t as smooth sailing as the first book.