Monday, April 24, 2017
Following the defeat of the Storm King the remaining Norms flee through the land's of men back to their ancient city of Nakkiga. Lord Isgrimnur leads an army that intends to take thefight to Nakkiga itself and wipe out the Norms and their sleeping queen. Porto a man from the South has found himself part of the army, though all he really wants is to get himself a young man from a nearby village safely home. Viyeki a mid-ranking engineer of the Norns finds himself embroiled in the politics of the high ranking members of his society, who even in the face of destruction jockey for position.
Williams does a brilliant job delving into characters from both sides of the conflict, humanizing them so effectively you can't help but root for both of them. The shorter length of this novel means Williams pacing is markedly improved. Just how much action and political intrigue Williams is able to cram into this one is impressive, he quite cleverly has lots happen 'offscreen' that Viyeki has to piece together as best he can.
Overall Williams make a welcome return to his signature world of Osten Ard with the great character development I always expect from him, combined with welcome improved pacing. 8.5/10.
Saturday, April 22, 2017
Thirteen years ago a young Prince from another world was spirited to earth when his medieval style kingdom was invaded. Due to a magical mishap Daniel and his guardians were separated and had their memories stripped away. Daniel ended up in an abusive household that eventually lead to a fatal confrontation with his stepfather that led to Daniel hiding in a trailer park from the police. His guardians have unwittingly found themselves as targets of agents of the invading force that have found their way to earth (although no time has passed in the magical world). After a centaur sorceress restores their memories the guardians find themselves in a race to find the prince. The guardians also have to reconcile their new memories with the lives and families they have built on earth.
The characterization was mixed, particularly among the villains whose leader is very 80's cartoon villain dimensional. Magical explanations aside they also should have had more trouble adjusting and fitting into modern society. Some of the minor villains had more interesting motivations thankfully and I enjoyed the adjustments the guardians had to make to their new memories.
Pacing was uneven due to too many points of view, especially early on, that hurt any momentum that could have developed.
This novel is a mixed bag, a solid concept but not delivered as well as it could have been. 6/10.