Saturday, November 12, 2011
Review: The Diviner by Melanie Rawn
Azzad al-Ma'aliq is a frivolous young nobleman, content to spend his days in the pursuit of attractive young women. All that changes when the Sheyqa Nizzira slaughters all of his kin. Azzad barely escapes into the desert with his horse Khamsin. There Azzad almost perishes but is saved by a mysterious group of desert healers known as the Shagara. Azzad begins amassing his own fortune convinced he has been spared to seek vengeance for his family but Nizzira is aware of his escape and sends hunters of her own after him.
I quite enjoyed the Mediterranean-Near eastern world and societies Rawn created here. The cultures are all very well thought out and each has their own nuances that bring the world to life. In typical Rawn fashion the story follows the lives of Azzad and two of his descendents Alessid and Qamar over many years.
The purpose of the prequel is undoubtedly explaining where the magic in the Golden Key came from but this narrow focus does create a few problems. During Alessid's portion I would have liked to have seen a greater focus on the battles and the empire building portions as these would have been highly interesting. Qamar's part felt a bit too rushed especially the latter portion to truly give the finale the power it deserved. Indeed for readers who have not read the Golden Key the whole purpose of the finale would mostly be lost.
Overall Rawn makes decent return to high fantasy, though the Diviner may not stand as well without reading the Golden Key as she would have liked. 7.25/10.