I was a bit worried going in. I quite enjoyed the Ririya Revelations and was worried that Mr. Sullivan is pigeon-holing himself into only writing in a single world with this third series. My other concern was that I was getting another primitive barbarian story with the old “elves are gods” trope as a central facet.
The second piece of that is accurate, although the author takes steps to break down that barrier throughout the book. Whether the author has pigeon-holed himself into a single world remains to be seen, but it’s happened before.
First, the issues I had.
The first third or so of the book is slow, as in pacing. Things don’t happen very quickly and there’s a lot of setup going on. Mr. Sullivan is laying great groundwork for things that are coming later in the story (and probably later in the series), but it’s at the expense of things happening that advance the current story very quickly.
Overall, the plot is a little on the obvious side, very linear and straight forward. There are tense moments and scares, but nothing really twisty.
The elven sorcerers have way too much power. They can literally rearrange the landscape to suit their needs at any given time. The main bad guy, one of those sorcerers and on the verge of considering himself a god, is so clearly the bad guy and so obviously over the top, but no one else seems to even notice, or realize that he doesn’t have the best interest of elven society at heart.
There are some subverted expectations, and good ones. The mystic is a teenage girl, the barbarian hero has got it bad for the chieftan’s widow (I’m not sure if this is an oedipal thing or cougar hunting, but I’m sure more will develop later), and the elves aren’t quite so monolithic a culture as they first appear – plenty of fractures developing while we watch.
And the characters do grow on you, especially Raithe (the barbarian who set everything in motion by killing an elf), and Persephone (the widow), though for completely different reasons.
Overall rating: 3.5 stars. Fun, but I don’t know if I need the next book or not at this point. The basic story is taken care of in this volume, and it’s a happy-ish and satisfying ending for the survivors, while offering reminders that there are still major events to come.by