creative [kree-ey-tiv]: adjective. Synonyms: clever, cool, innovative, inspired, prolific, stimulating.

criticism [krit-uh-siz-uhm]: noun. The act of passing judgment as to the merits of anything.

3 Jun 2010

To Light A Candle - Mercedes Lackey & James Mallory

The second volume in The Obsidian Trilogy is, on all counts, even better than the first one: the pace picks up considerably, the overlong adjectives-filled scenes with the Demon Queen are fewer and further between (which also helps with the pacing), the characters grow and develop and learn to adapt to their circumstances, and the story becomes the epic tale of war between Good and Really Really Evil that it is supposed to be. All in only 856 pages!
Again, don't worry that you won't be able to read it all in one setting; there's still some recaps sprinkled through the novel, but quite a few less than in the first installment of the trilogy.
Now, a few more important characters are (finally!) introduced to the reader during this novel:

  1. Ancaladar the black dragon (the scaly thing with wings on the cover). A cool dude, from the dragon species, who shirked his obligation during the last Great War against the Demons - feeling guilty about this, he finally accepted to Bond with a mortal, which gave said mortal magic powers that would otherwise always have eluded him. Ok, he Bonded with Jermayan the elf; yes, that elf's lucky, he's on two covers!
  2. Cilarnen the High Mage (not on the cover). Well, technically he's only an Entered Apprentice in the hierarchy of the High Mages, but anyways, he tries to start a rebellion against the Mage Council of Armetalieh, and since the Golden City is a totalitarian state, guess what happens? The plot thickens!
Apart from that, the same protagonists and antagonists come back. And for those curious about such things, Vestakia's the girl on the cover; she appears to be a Demon, but she really isn't, and read the book to get their explanation of what happened for her to look as she does.
My primary complaint about it, though, is that there's no map  to show how the ocean, Armetalieh, the Elven Lands and such relate geographically to each other - and the authors are a bit inconsistent. At one point, Armetalieh is east of the Elven Lands, and then a few chapters later it's west of the Elves. It's a bit minor, but being able to visualize everyone's travels would be nice.
Anyways, this novel is just as enjoyable as its prequel, if not more, and I would definitely recommend it to everyone who liked Lord of The Rings (some plot elements are a bit reminiscent of Tolkien's mythology. Hardcore LoTR fans will see it). Be warned, though; you will likely get a craving for tea. It's discussed at length.

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