Rating: 4 out of 5
It’s slightly typical of me to jump to the third book in the series and then think ‘This is slightly complicated’. Fortunately, the pantheon and the rules that govern in the Malazon world came back to me with some speed. More fortunately, perhaps, I was happy they did and this book did not disappoint.
I guess one’s feelings might be different if they had been following Kellanved’s rise from the first book, but for me this was a welcome introduction to how that specific mage — and his seemingly insane behaviour — works for a greater purpose. The other characters were also familiar in their roles, and to a degree that led me to wonder what roles they would be occupying in the to-be-created-Empire. Yet, this was not always the case making this both more varied as well as more interesting than I expected at certain points along the road.
There was also a certain emotional difference in how these characters are written — they are both more human as well as less approachable than some other characters. Though I can see the story the book describes in my mind’s eye, I cannot — perhaps fortuitously — recognize all of their actions and emotions. This speaks to both the good and the ill of this book: the characters belong in a world of fantasy but also, perhaps, have become too far removed for us to feel all of their suffering as we should.