Read The Blue Star by Fletcher Pratt Online

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Lalette Asterhax could not escape her destiny. She was a hereditary witch in a world where witchcraft was banned by ecclesiastical and temporal powers. And any man who possessed her would then gain possession of her precious Blue Star and all the powers it could bestow. Rodvard Bergelin was a reluctant revolutionary ... a rogue who had a date with destiny. Although he lustLalette Asterhax could not escape her destiny. She was a hereditary witch in a world where witchcraft was banned by ecclesiastical and temporal powers. And any man who possessed her would then gain possession of her precious Blue Star and all the powers it could bestow. Rodvard Bergelin was a reluctant revolutionary ... a rogue who had a date with destiny. Although he lusted after a rich baron's daughter, Rodvard was ordered to seduce the saucy witch-maiden. Then all the magical powers of that strange blue jewel would be his ... for as long as he remained faithful to Lalette!"A magnificent job of writing ... a gem-perfect example of a branch of pure fantasy so rare nowadays." --Damon Knight...

Title : The Blue Star
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781434474070
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 252 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Blue Star Reviews

  • Derek
    2019-02-13 08:42

    The core of the story, as outlined in a clunky framing device, is a thought experiment. What would happen if you limit scientific progress and replace it with a corresponding development of 'psychic/spiritual' nature, that is attached to women but restricted by social mores? What would society look like?It forms a seed crystal at the center. There are hereditary witches who assume their power after losing their virginity. Some have a Blue Star, an artifact allowing her to share her power in a limited fashion with her faithful lover. The Blue Star's only benefit for the wearer is allowing him to read the true thoughts of those whose eyes meet his. The witches, though potentially powerful and of versatile abilities, are disapproved by society, particularly by the spiritual authorities.Pratt then goes to show--in charmless, sluggish detail--how this results in a world as crappy and picayune as our own. The presence of witchcraft does not imply the entertaining use of witchcraft, especially if its practitioner is small-minded and retiring of disposition. Opening a window into others' minds is a kingmaking ability in a setting of intrigue, but not if placed into a the hands of a dullard. The whole upshot of Pratt's story is first that abilities are nothing compared to the will to use it and secondly that Pratt has no interest in writing a story of high adventure and romance and sorcery. The story has a dour, cynical tone and the appearances of intense misogyny: society disapproves of witchcraft, thus monitoring and controlling such individuals and secretly take advantage of their abilities and a creepy interest in young ladies' virginity. For people supposedly with supposedly detestable abilities, an awful lot of attention is paid to their family trees...just to trace the inheritance of their abilities. And Lalette comes into her powers effectively by date rape perpetrated by the supposed protagonist-hero of the piece.This is the other problem: I wanted to punch Rodvard repeatedly in the face, and then kick him in the kidneys after he collapses. For pressuring Lalette. For not being interested in her other than as a power source for her Blue Star, on behalf of the equally odious Sons of the New Day. For being unfaithful, even when his vested interest is clearly in keeping Lalette as happy as possible, even if for purely cynical reasons. For being such a shmuck about his supposed allegances to the Sons, and for not seeing the web of stupidity around him. Lalette is not much of a person either, but her sins are merely of being a milquetoast and not being given enough to do (or wanting to do).I can see the themes being carried to their logical conclusions. Rodvard and Lalette are pawns (not even _good_ chess pieces) in the machinations of society, to be stored away when inconvenient and brought out when useful. How the oppression and subjugation of witches becomes even more cruel when the influence of the ecclesiastics is removed and the political forces begin to treat these individuals like tactical weaponry and seek out more of them and maximize their docility.The results are a story that I can sort of admire and see the merits of, but met with an "Oh God, I still have to finish this damn thing" every time I sat down to read.

  • Simon Workman
    2019-02-02 13:28

    I read “The Blue Star” because I recently completed a full set of the Ballantine Adult Fantasy Series From the early 1970s. “The Blue Star” was the first novel in the series, and was originally published in 1952. My rating is really more like a 3.5, but I feel compelled to rate this higher because I think some other reviewers are rating it low for fairly trivial reasons. First off, it starts with a frame narrative that, while unnecessary, is only about 5 or 6 pages total and doesn’t really take anything away from the main plot; I actually enjoyed it. Second, while Pratt is certainly not the most engaging prose stylist out there, he is pretty good—much better than a lot of other fantasy writers, who in my experience tend to go a little (or a lot) over the top with either flowery diction or try for Robert E. Howard-style raw energy. Pratt, on the other hand, has an understated “British” style (despite being American) that might clash with some readers’ idea of how “fantasy” is supposed to read, but is just fine for the story he’s trying to tell. That story is also fairly atypical for the modern form of the genre (remember, this was the early 1950s): it’s low on the swords and sorcery, though the latter is integral to the plot, and it’s heavy on the political machinations of the world it’s set in. That said, the world Pratt manages to build in less than 250 pages is impressive in its complexity and scope, and the story itself is interesting. The characters can be hard to like, but Pratt draws them with a sympathetic honesty that makes them feel like real people rather than stock fantasy figurines. This, I think, is why some may not like this novel—it’s got too much “realism” for those expecting a straight up fantasy work. But for me those are the parts that felt the most authentic, and on the whole I think “The Blue Star” works. Pick it up (it’s not expensive or hard to find) if you want a different spin on the traditional fantasy tale.

  • Colin
    2019-02-20 12:28

    An odd early fantasy appearing on Gygax's "Appendix N"So, "The Blue Star" is one of those odd old fantasy novels that predates the birth of "modern" fantasy after Tolkien, it has some of the odd conventions that tended to appear in such early fantasy (such as the "framing" scenes at the very beginning and ending of the novel in which people from our world speculate about the existence of such a fantasy world, and then muse about it afterward, unconnected to the actual story. I found it a little less enjoyable than most of the Appendix N works I've managed to track down - perhaps because the protagonists are not very likeable. There is also some very disturbing stuff in there (on of the protagonists essentially rapes the other, and it is brushed off as rather unimportant - perhaps a reflection of the more patriarchal times in which the novel was written, but very unsettling to the more enlightened modern reader. There are some really interesting aspects to the magic of this fantasy world, such as witchery being inherited by women only through the female bloodline, but the power to unlock the magic of a Blue Star (a gemstone that gives its wielder the power to read minds, among other things, apparently) can only be used to the benefit of a witch's male lover or husband, for only men can actually wield the Blue Star, it seems. This "gendered" magic is original and creative in the time period during which this was written, and reaches its full flowering and development (with rather different results) with fantasy like Robert Jordan's "Wheel of Time" series. Anyway, I enjoyed it, but it just wasn't *great* . . .

  • Mike
    2019-01-25 11:30

    (read as part of my Appendix N project)As some other reviewers have mentioned, this one was a little hard to get through; every character is flawed in some way that basically precludes your rooting for (or even caring much about) them, and though the world is worked out in high detail it can feel a little academic at times. Though I'm all for thoughtful fantasy that goes in a different direction (and there were a lot of directions pre-Tolkien) I found this drier and less enjoyable than the other entries on the Appendix N list. But I have always enjoyed Pratt's work with de Camp so I will probably wind up reading his only other solo epic fantasy ("The Well of the Unicorn") at some point.

  • Jerry
    2019-02-03 14:39

    This is a very different story in a very similar world with a very different form of magic. There are witches; they are women, and they inherit it from their mothers. This is fairly normal. The first man they have sex with gains, if the witch gives them their hereditary blue star, the ability to read the mind of anyone by looking into their eyes.There are revolutionaries who want Rodvard Bergelin to seduce Lalette Asterhax and so gain the blue star from her, so as to help the revolution.All this happens within the first several pages; but of course neither the revolution nor perhaps even the mind-reading are what they seem. It becomes clear very quickly that the revolution is following the same line as the French revolution did in our world.It’s a nice story, different from most fantasy stories, but with problems. The way the world treats blue stars mean doesn’t really make sense. Everyone seems to know about the blue stars; at least, everyone who knows Rodvard has one tries to avoid catching his eye. But except for the revolutionaries and one count, no one in government, crime, or religion seems to really care one way or the other about the existence of transferrable mind-reading.Also, there’s a framing sequence about a group of three men discussing parallel worlds and then dreaming this story while they sleep. This was a fairly common technique of the time; E.R. Eddison used it in a similarly confusing manner in The Worm Ouroboros. Here it mostly detracts from the story. It is hard to imagine that the technique was welcomed by readers back then, but it was common enough that someone must have preferred it.On the other hand, the ending line almost makes the framing sequence worth it, though even it echoes Carroll and Poe, and has itself been echoed in many stories since.

  • Jordan
    2019-02-03 13:40

    Time has not been kind, I fear, to Fletcher Pratt’s The Blue Star. After thoroughly enjoying The Compleat Enchanter, I was disappointed by how little I enjoyed The Blue Star. The plot slows down and speeds up at unpredictable intervals. Most jarring is the book’s depiction of romance, which by more modern standards sounds a whole lot like date rape.It also doesn’t help that there’s a lot of political/religious intrigues and factions to keep track of, that never quite seem to get explained properly. It’s a shame though – the book has some scathing religious criticism stuck into it – surprising for a fantasy novel written in the 50s.

  • Allan
    2019-02-20 14:44

    I've only ever read this author in collaboration with L. Sprauge deCamp. But he's got an excellent, detailed, inventive style and can world-build as well as anyone. I found myself wondering how he'd put so much into such a slim novel, and how he expected to complete it properly. In the end, he succeeded by making the ending turn on how all the various larger parts pushed and pulled a small but central part of the story. Satisfying, although I wish he'd written more.

  • Keith Davis
    2019-02-10 14:26

    This completely unique Fantasy novel is set in an alternate 18th century Europe in which magical power is possessed only by women and power is acquired only with the loss of virginity. Lots of complex political conspiracies go on and everyone seems to be trying to use everyone else for the advancement of their own power and political advantage.

  • John Yelverton
    2019-02-08 11:36

    The book starts off very well and is very engaging, but it sadly gets lost in a very convoluted and unfleshed out story with characters that are neither relatable nor believable.

  • Rebecca Huston
    2019-01-22 08:20

    One of the first fantasy novels that went beyond swords and dragons and actually dealt with people. One of my first reads as a teen in fantasy novels, and still a favourite.

  • John
    2019-02-20 11:28

    1977 grade C-