Review: Fugitive Prince, Janny Wurts

Rating: 4 out of 5

I am not smitten! Finally, a volume in this series that I have liked less—the reason, in this case, is the relatively long mid-section where a number of characters go into a bit of an off-world adventure. It was clear from the beginning that nothing seriously untoward could happen here, so I did not find the entire long escapade particularly fun to follow. The rest of the book continues in strong form, however, and the added presence of Elaira in a few scenes makes this volume at least partly more enjoyable than the last. However, the characters mostly come out of these adventures more or less as they entered (perhaps with the exception of Sulfin Evend), making this a filler that brings more action than growth.

The activities primarily have to do with the attempts by everyone on Athera to prematurely end the life of our cherished Crown Prince of Rathain. Lysaer and the Koriathain spare no efforts to accomplish this while the poor prince has to escape with the few loyal folks that are ready to come with him. Expediency wins the day whenever Lysaer is questioned on his methods; the expediency being the wish to slay Arithon even if it cost the lives of everyone else. It is, perhaps, one of the oddest parts to this story that Lysaer’s followers don’t seem to mind his poor tactics which inevitably lead to defeats. Lysaer’s own point of view almost says that he craves defeat after defeat to prove the deadliness of the enemy.

This is posturing on a grand scale. Therefore, the grand justice of The Light has to strike out at all and any non-believers: firstly, the non-believers in Lysaer’s version of the truth which we start to see happen, and, secondly, non-believers in the Lysaer’s methodology who are regrettably very few. It is apposite that in broad terms each conflict that Lysaer starts manages to end poorly for him, though of course the reader can see that in this the goal of showing darkness as something that only he can vanish, is well served—though I would not be surprised if some cleverer of the Atherans start asking how Lysaer can triumph on Turn #8 when he’s done poorly the previous seven goes. In addition to this, what strikes me odd is that all other sorcery except that which Lysaer casts is put in evil terms: there must be a time when this comes to bite him back, if only to close the lyrical circle and to see the snake eats its own tail.

I enjoyed this. While I couldn’t wait to continue it, I am overall not as satisfied as after the previous volumes which won’t stop me from proceeding with the next book.

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