Days of Air and Darkness

Rori and friends are attempting to lift the siege started in Days of Blood and Fire. This book is mostly action without much discussion or character development, which makes it fun to read. The big battle at the end is a bit unusual, because so many die, but I wont say any more because I don’t want to ruin it for you. An enjoyable book, the best bit of which would have to be the Jill and Rodry quest at the beginning.

[isbn: 0553572628]

Days of Blood and Fire

This is book seven of the extended Deverry series (preceeded by Daggerspell, Darkspell, Dawnspell, The Dragon Revenant, A Time of Exile, and A Time of Omens). The blurb on the back cover of this book implies that it should be safe for a new reader to enter the series here, and I can understand why publishers would want to do such a thing for such a long series. By contrast, Asimov’s Extended Foundation Series has many entry points, with most stories being free standing. I think Kerr did a reasonable job of introducing the characters without being overly annoying about it. I’ve seen reviews from others that say that there is a lot of annoying ground to recover, such as the Etheric travel sequences. I disagree however — these are just as long winded as in other books in the series, and we’re talking about a couple of paragraphs, not hundreds of pages.

The only part of this book which didn’t sit well with me was Rori picking up a girlfriend with basically now warning. Perhaps I’m dense, but I didn’t see it coming at all, and thought it was rather abrupt. I’m also not sure it did much to further the overall story. On the other had, Jadho is an interesting character, and I’d like to see him explored more.

This book ends mid plot line, so I guess they’re expecting me to read the next book soon. That would have been a lot more annoying if I was reading this book fresh off the presses and had to wait for Kerr to write the next one before I could read it.

[isbn: 0553290126]

A Time of Omens

This is the sixth book in the not-very-finished Deverry celtic fantasy series. This one is pretty good, especially because it has several subplots, which makes it feel more like a few shorter books in one volume. That means you don’t lose your place in a 400 page story line as you go along. I’m a fan of the intermingled plot lines style (Tom Clancy does it quite well too), and it works well in this book. This book follows a subset of the usual characters, although some of the older ones have moved on, so to speak.

[isbn: 0553290118;0586211969]

A Time of Exile

This book is the fifth in the Deverry series, but focusses on a different set of characters than the other books. However, the new plot line is tied in nicely with the previous stories, so there is a nice combination of furthering the overall plot without bogging down in territory which has been covered by the previous books. I liked this book, especially the way it starts out like a sequel to the third book, and then something which feels like an aside becomes the major plot line for the book. Its a great way of introducing a new sub plot without the reader realizing until its well under way, and I enjoyed it a lot. This is a a great book, and probably the best in the series after Daggerspell.

[isbn: 0553298135;0586207880]

The Dragon Revenant

I knew what happens at the end of this book before I read it, and I thought I’d be upset about it. Funnily enough, by the time we got there the progression of the story made it seem kind of natural. This is a good book, and a worthy addition to the series, however Salamander’s habit of including three words all meaning the same thing in ever sentence gets really annoying. I think I would have punched him in the face if I was one of the characters in the book.

[isbn: 0553289098]

Dawnspell: The Bristling Wood

This is the third book in the Deverry series, and is very readable. This book is a little different from the previous two because the two plots aren’t as strongly linked as they have been in the previous two books. In previous books they’ve been interleaved, whereas in this book the first half of the book is one plot, and the second half the other.

[isbn: 0586207414;0553285815]

Polgara the Sorceress

This is the final continuation of the Belgariad and the Malloreon series, following on from the Belgarath the Sorcerer continuation. The two continuation books are really just the same stories told from other perspectives, yet Belgarath the Sorcerer managed to be a really interesting read. It probably helped that Belgarath’s story predates the Belgariad by thousands of years. On the other hand, most of the territory covered in this book is not new.

This book started well, but the tone quickly became annoying for me. I think it was the several hundred pages of Arendish history that ruined it for me — its just not that interesting where Polgara’s bathroom is located, and who won a particular jousting match. There are also these really annoy asides littered throughout the text. The same element appeared in Belgarath, but seemed less annoying there for some reason. It annoyed me that there would be a passage of prose, broken in the middle with supposedly witty comment, which invariably fell flat.

The other problem with this book is that Polgara herself comes across as a bit of a sociopath. She’s always sure of herself, and lacks depth as a character because of it. I’ve got kids, and I find a character who is dumped into raising an orphan at zero notice being so self assured all the time. Surely she made mistakes and learnt something along the way? You wouldn’t know it from the book though — all of that is glossed over.

On the other hand, the book is ok apart from the long middle bit in Arendia. This would have been a better book if that had been omitted.

[isbn: 0345422554]