A coup against the king of Lirionne forces his last remaining legitimate son, Prince Tepres, to flee to Kalches, nearly on the eve of war breaking out between the two countries. Tepres may have won the friendship of Kalchesene prince and mage Taudde Omientes ken Lariodde, but in the face of his cousins' hostility and his grandfather's mistrust, not even Taudde may be able to protect the heir of the infamous Dragon of Lirionne from the perils of the Kalchesene court. Worse, his duty to his own country may require that he set aside every consideration of friendship . . . unless he can find another path both countries can accept.
In Lirionne, Leilis holds too many dangerous secrets for comfort. She knows where Tepres fled, and with whom. She knows his father the king is still alive, and where he is hidden, and why he cannot declare himself and take back his throne. But not even Leilis knows that the true conspiracy was never aimed at the king, nor at seizing ordinary power.
The real conspiracy was always aimed at the true dragon, the dragon sleeping beneath the mountains of Lirionne. Nemienne, apprentice mage and far out of her depth, is the only one in either country who can hear the dragon as it stirs toward wakefulness. If it rises, Lirionne may fall. If the conspirators force it to their will, worse than that awaits. And Nemienne, with no one to help her but the youngest and least-regarded heir of the Dragon, can find no way to stop any of the disasters now poised to crash over both countries.
Rachel Neumeier started writing fiction to relax when she was a graduate student and needed a hobby unrelated to her research. Prior to selling her first fantasy novel, she had published only a few articles in venues such as The American Journal of Botany. However, finding that her interests did not lie in research, Rachel left academia and began to let her hobbies take over her life instead.
She now raises and shows dogs, gardens, cooks, and occasionally finds time to read. She works part-time for a tutoring program, though she tutors far more students in Math and Chemistry than in English Composition.
Maybe not _quite_ four stars, because I didn't like this quite as much as House of Shadows, but there was a lot to love, including some passages of quite breathtaking beauty. My reservations come from a slight difficulty in distinguishing between some of the characters, especially the men, especially because they all had complicated but rather similar names. I don't seem to have had this problem in the first book, perhaps because one set of brothers doesn't feature as prominently. However, this is maybe a minor and personal quibble, and should not put anyone else off reading this otherwise very absorbing novel.
This book is lyrical, passionate and lovely, with enough drama and plot twists to surprise anyone, but I never doubted that the author would make it all come out right. It reminds me of Patricia McKillip’s writing, as Rachel Neumeier’s work often does, but this one is arguably even better. I found the magic to be a little easier to follow than McKillip. I won’t re-summarize the plot as the official description is good. As in the prequel, different story lines are told by Nemienne, Taude and Leilis. Nemienne’s sister Enelle is a nice addition to the point of view characters, and an interesting choice since she is an ordinary person, not touched by magic in any way. The new location - half in Kalches - is a nice contrast, and new characters all have depth and life of their own. Even, or especially, the bad ones. The story lines all came together very nicely in the end - plus, cats!
I loved the story, but I like the first book, House of Shadows, more. Door into Light is told from more viewpoints than the first book, which is fine, but which occassionally slows things down when people think similar thoughts about things (and indeed, sometimes characters think almost the exact same thing themselves on multiple occassions). So though I read it in a single afternoon, it felt more labored than the reading (and the re-reading yesterday) of House of Shadows. But still very good--an excellent story, full in intrigue and challenges and great characters.
Solid sequel, with nice twists and reveals that force you to rethink some things in the previous novel as well; Leilis and Taudde continue to be the stand-out characters (Nemienne doesn't get enough to do, new characters Garedde and Irelle and everyone else in Kalches re underdeveloped, and Tepres and Karah continue to be exceedingly boring) although the subplot about Enelle and the king is really nicely done, and leads to a very effective, poignant completion of his arc. Everything about Kalchasene music-magic was wonderful, as was the Dragon. The diplomatic mopping up at the end, however, was a bit rushed.
Neumeier has endowed this world with a strong sense of history: events before the first book began have shaped and continue to shape the characters and their choices, from the a battle and treaty 15 years before, to the conquests of several generations before, to the plots and executions that happened not too long before the first book began. While the forces in play in the denouement of this book reach back even further to magical foundings and bindings, the more recent history continues to be felt, and, intriguingly, becomes less clear the more we find out. Who was really behind the nefarious plots of the first book? The human actors who were the villains there? The villains who come to the foreground in this book? Did their plans stretch back even to some events before the books began? Or was it all being arranged and foreordained by another hand? We end up not really knowing, and that uncertainty enriched the whole.
I enjoyed the first book in this series and couldn't imagine where Neumeier would go with a sequel. But this one is even better than the first. It has family politics, international politics, strong sibling relationships, excitement, romance, music magic, and dragons. What more could you possibly want? Some of my favorite things: Taudde arguing with the king of Kalches, successfully getting his friend treated as a guest instead of a prisoner, but being thrown into the Tower himself. Leilis manipulating the palace guards with a masterful hand. Sehonnes and Sa-Telis each trying to gain advantage over each other. A truly unexpected romance for Nemienne. Pirate prince ex machina. Also cats. Dark of the Moon is the best. Read this book! (But read the first one first.)
In the midst of a coup, the heir ends up in the neighboring country, which harbors great resentment. The neighboring country has an ailing king and that king's 2 sons aren't in agreement on many things.
We see the clash of 2 different cultures, the impressiveness of the dragon, and what loyalty and honor mean.
It's okay, but boy howdy am I sick of the keiso and the assumption (it appears) that as long as you're super cute and have some poise, you are actually the one in control of any situation. Just as it's hard to portray a genius in fiction, it's hard (it also appears) to convey charm and subtlety, 'cause none of these characters have it.
A lovely fantasy novel full of quarreling princes, strange doors that open to different places, dragons and bardic sorcery. An effortless read that flows well and has many interesting characters. Book two in a series, and (I think) the conclusion of the tale.
Loved the new insight about the dragon, the way important victories were team achievements, often in ways none of the characters expected, and Taudde's cousin. Did not expect anything about this, and was totally delighted by it.
2022 reread: I'm sad that Nemienne gets sidelined in this one, but I'm very happy with more Leilis. I really wish we got to know Tepres more. We hear characters say that he's great, but we don't get much demonstration of that.