Review: Initiate’s Trial, Janny Wurts

Rating: 4 out of 5

I have been deep into the War of Light and Shadow, and though the device the author uses to open this book astounded me to no end—in fact I’m still ruminating over the clever way this book developed—I don’t think the book delivered on the promise it could have had. It’s difficult to continue without very clear spoilers which I normally try to avoid, so here’s that warning….

In short, Arithon’s loss of memory could have shaped the development of traits that do not lead him to try and do everything along. That he did not indicates that he hasn’t learned very much (if anything), which brings us more or less to the same point where we were at the end of the last book (with a few important changes, but these don’t relate to Lysaer and Arithon).

The other disappointment I had here was Elaira’s relatively meager role. In every case thus far, she has been the epitome of strength and wisdom, but her—like nearly every other character’s—obsession with a very different concept of free will than what we would interpret leads her to not take the “easy” way out by asking for Fellowship help even though it’s been stated she could have it. This is a problem for me, because the author’s description, vivid though it is, doesn’t stretch to detailing why that would be a betrayal of her values (and the free will of her original Koriathani crystal).

Lysaer’s developments were perhaps most enjoyable, but I more mean the new character of Daliana rather than Lysaer himself who is pretty much as obnoxious as Arithon about refusing any possible help from people who mean well towards him. Should they both not just perish in the geas as is? The two half-brothers resembled each other more than anyone else in this book.

One thing I do commend this series for is the depth of its scope. Within this, the roles of the characters have also varied such that if in the first book there were two main protagonists, Lysaer and Arithon, a few book later this had changed to a protagonist, Arithon, facing off against the antagonist, Lysaer. In the same vein, the reader can have no doubt by now that the antagonist’s throne has been won (?) by the Koriathain. Knowing this author and her way to pull miracles out of the boot, this could change again, but in many ways I hope not.

I enjoyed this, I will continue… But I enjoyed some other things I read recently more.

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