Friday, 30 March 2012

Dark Lady's Chosen by Gail Z. Martin

Though there are no spoilers for this book, this book contains spoilers from books one, two and three. You have been warned!!! (It's also early on in the review.)

The next book in this (seeming interminable) series is the continuation and arguable conclusion of what occurred in book 3, Dark Haven. We see the end of the plot to kill Kiara, the result of the War with Curane, the fate of Cam of Cairnrach as well as the fate of Dark Haven itself- an ending wound up with the lives of Jonmarc and Carina.

This a well structured book, in my opinion. It seemed that Martin had accepted that, by the end of Dark Haven, everything was coming to its end; for better or for worse. So the majority of the book actually only takes place over 5 days, and the chapters in those days are split between the multiple story lines. I get that some people would rather dislike this (arguable) mess, but it worked for the book. On her site, she says this book was about the aftermath of events that are the settling down of chaos and order into some sort of balance: something I'm going to venture in saying is represented through the written style. It is a bit hectic and indiscernible at times, but there is a clear order and structure that is adhered to.

All the plots seem to figure themselves out in the expected manner: people survive, at a cost or they survive only to find a greater challenge. I don't think anyone would be blown away by the outcome of events since you you've probably been expecting it and though you're obviously happy with the result, you won't be overflowing with excitement after having read it. On the other hand though, you'll never be inconsolable. So if you want a book which isn't going to stress you out to much as a reader, but you can still enjoy reading, this is an excellent choice.

Getting more into specifics...

I felt that Kiara's plot and storyline got slowly more repetitive as time went on. She'd make the mistake of feeling safe or powerful, and then a threat would rear its ugly head. She would survive it, but it underlines the precariousness of her position as well as risking something concerning her unborn child. I am being somewhat cynical, but it has to be said that for an interesting character who could have a had a much more interesting story (in my opinion) it was annoying that it descended into repeating itself. The most interesting bit was the end of her plot. I'm not saying that it was great because it was over (though that lingers at the back of my mind) but because the possible repercussions are interesting. I believe her child will be a mage and that the excess of wormroot (a magic inhibiting drug) in her system from the dart will give the baby an unusual tolerance for it.

I'm of the same sort of opinion of Cam's story too. I feel like his was only used to remind us of the divisionists and the widespread chaos in the kingdoms; otherwise it wasn't too important.

Tris' story was when he was still at war with Curane. His story was also a tad dull, but the ever-looming battle and the mystery surrounding what to do and what new horrors would be encountered kept be reading quickly through these pages. Give whatever meaning to it what you will, I really enjoy reading about battles that involve magic and average soldiers. Part of it is my inbuilt love of magic, but I think I just like the idea of combat magic since it is the most instinctive side of magic and can have interesting consequences. What I disliked about this portion was that Tris seemed to be constantly at the edge of his power, but still managing to hold on. His comments on his growing fatigue and loss of power got a bit dull.

For me though, the Dark Haven story of Jonmarc and Carina was much more interesting. I think that might have been because it was the one story that wasn't so clear cut. The others ones needed their players to survive in order to continue. This story only needed one and, in Carina's case, that one didn't need to come about completely unscathed. If I look back on their story now, the same cynicism takes over that they were hardly the most interesting and that the story was hardly unique. There were conflicts with the revolting (as in revolution) Vampires and Jonmarc's fear of loosing Carina. Carina had her own problems in trying to avoid the taint of Vampirism that warred with her healing magic for dominance. I guess their story was also interesting because it was a chance to learn more about the flow: the river of magical energy in these lands.

So I was impressed with this book. Maybe Dark Haven was a book to set up this one which, in so many ways, was much better. It's actually the end of the Chronicle's of the Necromancer Series, since the following books are a separate series which (I suspect) have a more active focus on Jonmarc. Though maybe it instead focuses on the children of the people on these books: the series being the symbol for the next generation.

Also, bonus points if anyone know who is on the front of this book. Is it Carina???

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