First off, what’s up with the title anyway? It feels like a little bit of named countryside that I’ve never read about before. It’s not mentioned in any of the other novels of Valdemar that have been listed in the Guard archives, and you’d think a piece of history like that would be in there, like the Vanyel references.
Mags is still recovering from being kidnapped, and his memories falsified. So that he can have some peace and quiet, he’s sent out on circuit near where his parents and the bandits were left. It seems like he is going to find out more about himself – one way or another, dead or alive.
I’m not sure whether to object or not about the pace of this novel. It seems to me like nothing happens in the first half, literally, except some flashbacks to previous novels. I enjoy scenery descriptions and so forth, but there needs to be some substance behind it. Like the others in this series, it felt empty and unsatisfying and could have been combined into one of the other novels. Yes, it did have a pretty distinct storyline in the end, but there was so much filler!
I felt really uncomfortable with the treatment of Mag’s and Amily’s relationship. Mags is a Herald! The conversation he and his mentor have is just awkward for Mags and readers alike. It’s not similar to any other novel she’s written that I’ve read, which is most of them, and I don’t like it and don’t feel like it added anything to the story. In fact it felt crude. The dramas between the two mentors had a little bit of interest in it, but the eventual resolution of it was a let down.
Once again, I got to the end and wondered if it was finished. This time, I wasn’t even sure if it was the end of the series or not! This seems like a publishing money cow, but it’s not a tasty one. I didn’t even remember the book before this one very well – this one is just as forgettable.
I’ve got another Mercedes Lackey novel waiting for me to review it – I’m not that excited, but it’s from a series she hasn’t stuffed up yet too much, so hopefully it is good!
This was just the right novel to get me into reviewing again – something to partially tear apart by an author who should have known better. I’ve been reading but not reviewing lately. I just got a fabulous stack of books from Scholastic to review though so I should have some more going on really soon.