Book Review: Limits of Power by Elizabeth Moon

DelRey
492 pp.

Limits of Power begins with a continuation of the scene where Echoes of Betrayal ended. The elves are extremely alarmed to find that their Lady has been slain and immediately jump to the conclusion that the humans are at fault. (For an Elder Race they are very good at jumping to conclusions and very bad at critical thinking.) Kieri is able to straighten things out eventually, and in the course of the investigation discovers that the palace has a security breach of sorts: secret magical patterns that elves can use to enter or leave the castle, which is how the evil “iynisin” elf managed to enter the castle to attack the Lady.

While Kieri works on figuring out how to help the elves and get important information from them, Dorrin and Beclan adjust to their new relationship and his new position as Dorrin’s heir. This is a very stressful time for Beclan, and an even more stressful time for Beclan’s relative Camwyn, who is pretty sure he’s caught magery somehow. It turns out that Camwyn is not alone in this sudden epidemic of magical ability. The Marshal General of the Order of Gird discovers that a child was murdered because of a suddenly appearing magical ability. This horrifies the Marshal and creates a political uproar because of a schism in the Order over what to do about mages, and if mage-magic should be considered “evil.”

Other plot threads follow Arvid who is continuing his journey of self-discovery, Stammel who becomes the Blind Archer one last time and Arcolin, whose job has become more complicated. There are also new plot threads appearing in the form of an elf king who would like everyone to get out of Kolobia, and that includes the mages frozen in stasis. The elf king gets sent around to various places because no one actually knows how to remove the spell. (The elf king doesn’t seem to realize that unfreezing the mages would cause a large number of problems such as what to do with them. Once again, it is clear that elves do not have critical thinking skills.) On top of that, the mysterious suite of crown jewels continues to nag Dorrin and anyone else it can make listen. The jewels seem to want someone to go to Old Aare, a land that is now entirely a wasteland, and fix it. (It is also apparently password protected because it keeps saying people are asking it the wrong questions.)

This was a very busy book with intertwining narratives and plots. Despite the complexity, it was easy to follow and extremely entertaining. There were some unexpectedly humorous moments and some really great character interactions. This was one of those books that are so engaging I ended up reading it cover to cover several times, and I can’t wait to find out what happens in the next book.


Limits of Power (Paladin’s Legacy) on Amazon

Limits of Power (Paladin’s Legacy) on Powell’s Books

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Filed under Elizabeth Moon, fantasy, paladins, Review: Book

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