When I ended this book – and with it the series – my cheeks were moist with tears, and my lips formed a broad smile. It is one of the faces of happiness I take most delight in, and it is rare. The series as a whole is among the best things I’ve ever read.
The Price Of Spring takes off slowly, and feels a bit like an afterthought to the impressive ending of the third book at first. But after about 100 pages, it picks up speed and becomes a page turner too. More importantly, the true magnitude of Abraham’s power as an author becomes clear. The series is stunningly well conceived, and the full weight of plot lines started in A Shadow in Summer start to reveal itself. There are no loose ends and it turns out that nothing in the books is superfluous. Yet, it doesn’t feel forced at all. One of the main qualities of this series is that it feels so natural and so balanced that one forgets one is reading something artificial, a construct by an author. This goes for the plot, and it goes for the prose too. Both the language and the deeply moving story about humanity this giant set of words convey, couldn’t resonate more with the reality of life and the order of things.
The series spans the life of Otah Machi, and as such has it all: the energy, hope and folly of youth, the contemplation, regret and peace of old age, and everything in between. It is very much a story about human characters, and not about gods or immortal mages. It is deeply moving, and yet as exciting as any other great adventure tale set in a fantastical world. Its canvas is big enough, so that the story about friendship and family is not a mere miniature, but something fleshed out, given depth and perspective by the politics and history around it. If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes nations to bring great characters truly to life.
For me, the greatest quality of The Long Price Quartet is that is has no pretension whatsoever. It does not try to show off, nor tries to preach. It is not heavy handed, nor overshadowed by something other than itself. And while magicians are called poets in the books, it is not meta literature. The messages it conveys are old, simple and humble ones. It doesn’t need some showy narrative device, it doesn’t try to be different or new, it’s not centered around some gimmick or one neat idea. The books of the Long Price are about love and life. Please, give them a try.
Nowadays the last 2 books of the Long Price Quartet are only available in one tome, entitled Seasons Of War.
originally written on the 3rd of May, 2015