Review: To Ride Hell’s Chasm, Janny Wurts

Rating: 5 out of 5

I’m in awe at Ms Wurts’ world building. This is clearly different to the Wars of Light and Shadow and, yet, the author’s clever touch with layers upon layers of meaning exists also here. From the start, the main characters grew on me even if they (and their motives) are vague to begin with.

The premise is that a young princess, Anja of Sessalie, has gone missing just before she could marry the crown prince of the neighbouring realm. What caused the absence? Either her happy-go-lucky nature that makes a joke out of everything or a cunning plot to sow division and lay the kingdom open for conquest. The real problem is indeed much worse and the reader can only glimpse this when the protagonist, Mikkael, starts to unravel the plot’s threads.

But this is where Ms Wurts has crafted an ingenious twist: almost no one trusts what Mikkael says because he’s not from Sessalie originally. The few who trust him are the lowborn while the nobility and chancellors of the country believe him to have been the source of the evil and the captor of the princess. The most important of these chancellors, however, slowly starts to build trust in Mikkael though it’s not made easy by the man himself.

I haven’t been this taken in by anything in a long while except, well, of course, for the same authors Wars of Light and Shadow. It’s pretty traditional as the plot goes with some twists, always related to the author’s deep sense of morality, but the elements of crime fiction also give the book aspects not all fantasy has. Ms Wurts is also very good in her use of language though the vocabulary is more complex than that of many other writers.

I’ll happily recommend this to anyone based on the above!

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