Completed 12/23/2016 Reviewed 12/28/2016
SPOILER ALERT: This
book is a direct sequel, so be forewarned that the summary
by definition is a spoiler to its predecessors.
My usual experience with trilogies is that the second book
is weaker than the first, and the third book is better than the second because
it contains the climax. Well, I was
proven wrong with this book. While the
second book was a tad weaker than the first, I felt that the third book was
much weaker than the second. It seemed
pointless. Maybe I shouldn’t have read
it right after the second book. I can’t
say for sure if that made a difference.
But while reading it, I just wanted it to end.
Devi and Rupert show up nearly a year after the end of the
second book because of time dilation in hyperspace. They were thought to be dead. But once they’re found to still be alive,
they are wanted by everyone. Devi has
the virus that can stop the phantoms, but the virus wreaks havoc for everyone
else, and eventually will kill Devi. So
everyone is trying to stop her. And
Rupert is wanted as a renegade for helping her.
But now they are totally in love. And the first major conflict occurs when her
former lover Anthony shows up to bring her in.
Devi chooses Rupert over Anthony and the chase begins. Now, I like a good romance, but so much of
the rest of the book seemed to wallow in Devi’s love for Rupert. Every action she took was some sort of
reinforcement of her love for him. It
I also found that the action became too formulaic, and I became
bored with it. It ran at such a high
pace for too long. It’s like when
something begins as a ten out of ten in intensity, it’s hard to maintain
that. You have to keep upping the game
to maintain that intensity. And it just
wasn’t upped enough for me. I got to the
point where I could predict when the next action sequence was going to take
place within a few paragraphs.
The bright spot of the book was the conclusion of how Devi
wanted to save the universe from the phantoms.
That part was good, but it was smothered by the love and the
I’m going to give the book only two stars because it was so
disappointing for me. The first book is
amazing. It’s well worth reading. The second book is very good. It still had me in its grasp. But this third book couldn’t hold it together
until the end. Maybe I should have
separated my reading of it from the second book by a different book or two. It might have made a big difference in my reception
of the action, the romance, and most importantly, the book as a whole.
Completed 12/10/2016 Reviewed 12/12/2016
SPOILER ALERT: This
book is a direct sequel to its predecessor, Fortune’s Pawn, so be forewarned
that there will be some spoilers of the first book in this review, specifically in the summary. For some reasons, like
most trilogies, the second book always feels a little weaker than the first
book. I think this is because the first
book in a good trilogy brings the reader something new. The second book is no longer new, so it doesn’t
seem as good. That’s the case with Honor’s
Knight. It’s really good, but not quite
the same bang up excitement I experienced with the Fortune’s Pawn. I expect the third to pick up because it’ll
be the big climax.
The story continues pretty much where the first book left
off. Devi has had her memory wiped, so
she doesn’t remember anything of her romance with Rupert. In fact, like a hypnotic suggestion, she’s
physically repulsed by him. She’s also been
wiped of any memory of what Rupert is and what happened in the big showdown with
Brenton. So in the first half of the book, Devi is in a
perpetual state of confusion. In the
meantime, she’s still seeing the phantoms that nobody else can see, and a
mysterious blackness begins covering her fingers. Needless to say, all this is freaking her
out. Fortunately, the action picks up, requiring
her memory to be restored. All the
interpersonal conflicts of the characters eventually resume and the
significance of her “gifts” becomes clear.
The big conflict of course is between Rupert and Devi. Should there still be any semblance of a relationship
between them given what has happened so far?
Is she angry enough or should she be angrier. It’s a tough call. I felt she should have been angrier, but at
the same time, I want them to get together because I guess I’m a sucker for a
good romance. The relationship will
probably reach its climax in the third and final book, just like the main plot. But it is the topic of a lot of strong
feelings one way or the other in reviews on the internet.
There isn’t that much more to say about this book. I give it four out of five stars like its
predecessor, even though I felt it was a little weaker than the first. If I gave half stars, I’d give it three and a
half, but it’s better than a three star book, so it gets four. The end is sufficiently action-packed, and
Devi is still her terrific, fierce, mercenary soldier self. The first half dragged a little when she’s
confused with missing memory, but it picks up strongly as soon as the action
kicks into gear and she gets her memory back.
I’ve already jumped into the third book.
This is great space fluff.
Completed 12/3/2016 Reviewed 12/7/2016
I liked this book. While
it has same-sex relationships, it’s not the great gay fantasy novel, but it’s
good. The author really does her best in
the scenes between the main character Demnor and his companion Kelahnus, and
telling the story about their relationship, from its rocky start to the present
conflict where Demnor has to marry a woman for political reasons. Demnor is a pretty damaged character. He is the heir to throne and the power of the
Living Flame, but he has been shaped by his powerful, emotionally abusive
mother who is the current ruler. So the
story really centers on Demnor and his struggles in life and love and
inheritance, and Kelahnus’ response to it all.
I really liked Kelahnus.
He’s not just a lover. He’s part
of what you can consider a concubine guild where people are trained to be the
lovers of the hierarchy. They serve the
function of providing companionship until the aristocrat gets married. And even after that, the relationship usually
continues in some form. In the case of
Demnor and Kelahnus though, the two have fallen in love. This creates a problems for Demnor’s future
as Aristok (King) and the need for him to marry for political reasons and provide
an heir. Kelahnus has to navigate
through all of Demnor’s political life while not despairing.
The first half of the book was my favorite part, where we
get to know the characters and the special social structure of the world. The second half takes a big turn into
politics. I felt like it dragged,
turning the book into the fantasy equivalent of a tedious space opera. This brought the book to a snail’s crawl for
me, losing the spark of the first half.
This is a shame too because the book had so much going for
it. Besides the companionship structure
and the fluidity of sexuality, gender has a prominent role. The aristocracy can be either male or
female. For example, all the children of
the Arsitok are Princes, even the girls.
Women also serve in the military.
What makes this aspect of the book so great is that it is not an
issue. It just is. It’s really well written in that
respect. And it’s easy to miss if you
don’t pay attention to the pronouns of the soldiers, guards, and
The magic and spirituality of the Living Flame concept was
really interesting too. Demnor is the
heir of this powerful magic that helps him and his army in battles. I thought it was understated, or perhaps underutilized. The scenes with the flame are predominantly
in the second half of the book. It
almost seems like it’s used sparingly on purpose, perhaps it has a much larger
role in the next books in the series.
Yes, this book is the first of a series. As I stated at the beginning of this review,
I liked it, but I did not love it. I
found the second half somewhat tedious and it put me off from reading the rest
of the series. I was really glad
however, that the book is self-contained.
It doesn’t leave you hanging for the next book in the series. I give the book three stars out of five. Maybe if the author could have edited out
about half of the second half, I would have enjoyed it more. The remaining action could have lifted the
pace and made it a little more exciting.