Seregil and Alec have left Rhiminee, and are living in the wilds of Skala, as far from civilization as they can get. Seregil is still recovering from...moreSeregil and Alec have left Rhiminee, and are living in the wilds of Skala, as far from civilization as they can get. Seregil is still recovering from the emotional trauma he suffered at the end of Darkness, and the only person he wants anything to do with is Alec. Alec has finally more-or-less completed his training, and the two are now equals, and lovers. Their idyllic existence is interrupted when Seregil recieves a summons from the Queen of Skala, who asks him to accompany her daughter on a diplomatic mission to his homeland, and act as her advisor and translator for the rest of the party. Seregil agrees, reluctantly, and he and Alec break their self-imposed exile.
This one has a much different tone and is a lot more complicated than it's predecessors. It's more of a political thriller/murder mystery than action-adventure. This time Lynn delves into Seregil's origins, and why he left his homeland. There's a great deal of introspection and angst in this one (what can I say, I love a male lead with a mysterious, tortured past!). We also learn a bit about Alec's shady history, as well, although the main focus is Seregil's struggle to reconcile with himself. It's the strongest book of the three, in my opinion, and even of you didn't like the first two, they're worth reading just so you can get to this one. I know some poeple didn't like it as well as the others, because it was so different, but I think Lynn made a good decision to go the route she did. (less)
This is set in the same world as Nightrunners, but five hundred years in the past. It came about from a quick reference in Luck in the Shadows. A Ska...moreThis is set in the same world as Nightrunners, but five hundred years in the past. It came about from a quick reference in Luck in the Shadows. A Skalan sailer was explaining the tradition that, "As long as a daughter of Thelatimos rules, Skala shall never be subjugated." But of course there was a usurping uncle who isisted that the prophecy was misunderstood, that as long as the daughter of Thelatimos ruled....and claimed the throne, then quietly killed all the girls in the royal family, except one, who was hidden in a rural estate and kept disguised as a boy. Eventually she was able to defeat her uncle, shed her diguise and claim her birthright. The Bone Doll's Twin tells the story of that girl, Tamir, and how very much more complicated and dark her story was.
When King Erius took the throne after the death of his mother, Agnalain, no one raised much fuss. The old queen had been paranoid and mad, and her rule had been a terrifying one, filled with unfounded accusations of treason and horrifying executions. When the royal girls started slowly dying, one by one, a few eyebrows were raised, but no one challenged Erius, since he was doing such a good job running the country. Everyone told themselves that the old tradition of matriachal power was just an old story, that nothing bad will happen just because a man sat on the throne. Everyone, that is, but a handful of wizards and priests who believe in the prophecy.
This is a very dark novel, and while as the plot is as typical and unoriginal as it can be, it's executed in a such a way that you don't care. Lynn gets away with writing a cliched plot, in a cliched Medieval Europe setting, because she has clearly done plenty of research. The world is packed with details that make it absolutely come to life, without getting bogged down by them. And of course, the whole she's-a-girl-disguised-as-a-boy thing got a whole new twist, too. Because of a very questionable spell, Tamir physically appears to be a boy, and in fact for most of her childhood she truly believes that she is Tobin, who was actually her male twin who died at birth. Heck, even though I knew better, I pretty much forgot that she was really a girl, myself.
One thing I want to say before I launch into a summary/review: the main characters are not gay; they're bisexual. Both of them express interest in and...moreOne thing I want to say before I launch into a summary/review: the main characters are not gay; they're bisexual. Both of them express interest in and have relationships with women. It's a silly thing to get nitpicky about, but I do. On with business.
Alec is a young man, just turned sixteen and recently orphaned, who earns a living trapping and trading furs. He's lived his entire life in the wilderness, learning how to survive and navigate seemingly featureless plains and endless forests. His solitary existence is disrupted when he is arrested by the local lord accused of being a spy. Alec is thrown into the dungeon, where he is tortured for several days. Then the guards bring a new prisoner and throw him in with Alec. Before Alec knows it, he and the strange man have escaped the dungeon and are camped in the woods outside the castle. The man introduces himself as Seregil, a wandering bard who, like Alec, was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Seregil needs to get to Wolde, a large trading-center, in three days, but the only way to get there in time is to take a shortcut that only Alec knows, so Seregil hires Alec as his guide, and the pair make their way to Wolde.
Along the way, Seregil confesses to Alec that he actually is the spy the lord was looking for, and offers Alec a partnership of sorts. Alec is hesitant, but Seregil convinces him with tales of magic, dragons, adventures and riches. When they reach the city they meet up with Seregil's partner, Micum. The trio heads south for Skala, which is one of the Three Lands (Plenimar and Mycena are the other two), but soon after Micum leaves the party to investigate some suspicious activity back in the North, and Alec and Seregil continue on. It seems there's about to be yet another war between Skala and Plenimar, and Plenimar is seeking allies in the North, which is why Seregil and Micum, agents of the Skalan government, were up there.
The two have lots of adventures, and kick lots of butt, and all the other usual things that happen in fantasy/action-adventure novels.
It has a standard Medieval Europe-type setting, complete with wizards, elves (she can call them whatever she wants, they're ELVES, okay, only without pointy ears), and various other mythical creatures. When I first read it, I had a very lukewarm response to it. It was definately an "okay" book in my opinion. The beginning just didn't grab me. Also, being first in a series (and the first novel Lynn wrote), there is a lot of exposition and world building, which I wanted to skim but didn't since I needed to know this stuff. Most of it is in dialogue form, with Alec acting as our conduit, while Seregil explains the customs and history of the Three Lands. It got tedious, and I found some of the passages just a tad awkward.
But the characters...especially Seregil...just grabbed hold of my heartstrings and made me care about them. And the dialogue--Lord, Seregil has a wit that could shred the wind! I love his irreverent sense of humor, too. And the chemistry between him and Micum just works; I can't think of any other way to put it. After I read the sequels, and then reread this one, I found myself falling in love with it. (less)
I can sum this up in essentially the same way I did with Luck: They have lots of adventures and kick lots of butt. And they also fall in love with eac...moreI can sum this up in essentially the same way I did with Luck: They have lots of adventures and kick lots of butt. And they also fall in love with each other, but Seregil has a crisis of conscience because Alec is still pretty young, and Alec is just plain confused by what he feels for Seregil, so neither of them say anything.
Saying anymore than that would spoil it if you haven't read it, really.
There's no real social commentary going on with the two main characters falling for each other, unlike with Mercedes Lackey's Last Herald Mage trilogy. The society of Rhiminee is very liberal and accepting of just about everything. For example, not only are same-sex relationships considered perfectly normal, but there are male prostitutes who service both male and female clients (and female prostitutes for female clients). So, in matters of sex, at least, the people of Skala are very open minded. The reason Alec is confused by his feelings for Seregil is because he still doesn't hold himself on equal standing with Seregil; they still have a very much master/apprentice relationship (which again, is why Seregil is determined that nothing should happen between them; he doesn't think it would be honorable. And frankly, I agree, Alec is still in some ways a not quite grown up yet, despite what he's been through.)
Again, it's the characters who make this story compelling, although the action picks up quite a bit in this one.
I'm actually rereading this, mostly because I got all excited when I found out that Peter Jackson bought the movie rights to it. :D I love Temeraire,...moreI'm actually rereading this, mostly because I got all excited when I found out that Peter Jackson bought the movie rights to it. :D I love Temeraire, he's such a sweetie.(less)
I saw the movie first, before I knew it was based on a book, and thought it was on the dark side of "okay". I had high hopes that the book would be be...moreI saw the movie first, before I knew it was based on a book, and thought it was on the dark side of "okay". I had high hopes that the book would be better, and so far it is. (less)