Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Tyrant's Blood (Valisar Trilogy Book Two)

Title: Tyrant's Blood
Author: Fiona McIntosh
Series: Valisar Trilogy
Preceded by: Royal Exile
Succeeded by: King's Wrath


Rating: 8/10
How likely I am to read the next book: Very Likely


Regular readers of this blog will realise that some stuff I normally put around this review is missing (such as a picture of the cover). This will be corrected later today. They may also notice that there was no posts last week.The reason for both is that I have been summoned to sit on a jury - while in the house moving process and don't have the time to read as much. But I expect to review regularly from now on, but it'll generally be on the bus - so less info for a week or two. Anyway - the book:

I was worried when I started reading this to be honest. It had been over a year since I read the fieat in the trilogy, and there was a curious message at the beginning almost apologising for the story, and that it was written without prior planning. But McIntosh is one of my favourite authors so I read one.

And if I'm honest, that directionless style is quite clear in the plot - but surpised me by being interesting. At the end of book one, the position was clear. King Leo wanted his throne back from the invader. But by the end of this one I'm losing track of who the bad guys are, and I have no idea what's going to happen in book three. However, there are a couple of downfalls of the aimlessness I think. One character from the previous book doesn't appear until near the end of the book, and happens to chance upon an event, taking something which makes half the planning in the book seem a bit pointless. But for the most part I enjoyed the story.

The characters are generally quite good, although they seem to blur their personalities a bit when McIntosh wants them to do something a little out of character. But the most interesting thing is that the main characters from the first book are kind of relegated to the back seat in this book, allowing others to take centre stage: particularly Pevin and Kirin.

SPOILER: That surprised me. Pevin in the precious book was withdrawn and mute. He may have spoken at the end of it, but he's perfectly able to talk now. And that's the start of his story. Turns out he can do magic as well. But that's also at the start. I just don't like his character very much, possibly because it's not easy to discern his motivation.

Finally, I want to discuss a couple of more technical issues with the writing style itself. For example Mcintosh quite often stops a scene at a pivotal moment in a scene, or even just after someone asks a question. I assume it's something to build tension - but it's something that should be used sparingly, but isn't. It quite quickly becomes annoying. Especially when the next scene with those characters doesn't resolve the cliffhanger immediately. For example, Pevin's adopted father asks a question that will change both of their lives. Then there is a scene break, and when we get back to Pevin, the question hasn't been asked yet, and isn't for another page or two. It's an unnecessary and overused technique.

However, my overall opinion of the book was a positive one, and I particularly enjoyed the scenes with Lily and Kirin. The characterisation was generally good, and I liked most of the story. It uses McIntosh's signature device of sending someone to a different world, which is becoming a bit boring after her other three (barely related) trilogies. But I look forward to the final Valisar book.

Other Info:

NOTE: Missing information will be filled in when possible.

ISBN: 978-0-00-727604
Pages: 492
Publisher: HarperVoyager
Published: 2009

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