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. Continue reading
War Maid’s Choice takes place a few years after the events of Wind Rider’s Oath. It is slightly better than Wind Rider’s Oath, but that is not saying very much. We open with an introduction of the Dark Gods as characters instead of as offstage menaces. (It is the kind of “villain discussion” that is actually better suited to a science fiction setting instead of a fantasy one. De-mystified gods are generally boring gods.) The Dark Gods are apparently not very happy with the way their stooges keep failing to take over Norfressa, so they dispatch Carnadosa and her brother Krashnark to make yet another attempt at invading. Continue reading
In this sequel to the Oath of Swords, Bahzell discovers there is more to being a champion of Tomanāk than just wandering around being an paladin. It turns out that champions of Tomanāk are also the commanding officers of the Order of Tomanāk, a fact that the deity in question failed to mention somehow. (Most likely, because it would have been about a million times harder to get Bahzell to join up in the first place.) Continue reading
Echoes of Betrayalis a direct continuation of Kings of the North. Arvid, the member of the Thieves Guild who helped Paksenarrion is trying to retrieve the necklace that had been stolen in the previous book. He is not initially very effective and he ends up in a great deal of trouble. Also, he is hearing the voice of someone who is probably Saint Gird. Gird would like to discuss Arvid’s life choices up to this point, but Arvid spends a great deal of time with his fingers stuck in his metaphorical ears in the hope that Gird will eventually get bored and go away. (Spoiler: He does not.)
The world-building of this fantasy novel has the feel of a table top roleplaying campaign. (A really good roleplaying campaign though, by a game master who is not reading out loud from the module.) This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is also not a good thing either. It is not a bad thing because the writer plays around with a lot of fantasy genre tropes, and the characters are fun and engaging, even if you find yourself trying to estimate their statistics. It is not a good thing because the stiff “Dungeons and Dragons” plug-and-play theology and mythology occasionally gets in the way of what is otherwise a very solid, action-adventure fantasy.
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In this sequel to Oath of Fealty, the characters are still adjusting to the new situations instigated by Kieri Phelan having become the king of Lyonya and Dorrin having become Duke Verrakai. We also have indications that all is still not well in various quarters, and the activities of a pirate who would be king (or at least Duke) are beginning to cause trouble elsewhere. On top of that we learn a great deal about Pargun, the machinations of various evil gods and a little about dragons. (I think the dragon is probably one of the best parts of the book.) Continue reading
Small Beer Press
Water Logic is the third book in the Elemental Logic series. In this book Zanja gets thrown two hundred years in the past by a water witch, Clement is unable to come up with a plan C for dealing with a mutiny, and a bunch of Shaftali rebels refuse to believe that Karis is the real G’deon. We also continue the theme that has been developing since Fire Logic: finding away to integrate the Sainnite invaders (who are actually refugees) into the Shaftali population. Searching out a way to accomplish this task leads to a shocking discovery.