Friday, August 15, 2014

Book Review - Warrior

Warrior – Jennifer Fallon

I freely admit I purchased this series based on two things: The cheap price and the amazing covers. The covers might not be everyone’s cup of tea but I love scenes that show off fantastical worlds. The first book Wolfblade pleasantly surprised me. It was very character orientated which to me is always a bonus. I was looking forward to the second in the series a lot.

The blurb:

It is eight years since Marla Wolfblade buried her second husband. In that time, she has become the power behind Hythria's throne -- as much from a desire to control her own destiny in any way she can, as to protect her son, young Damin.

But while Marla plays the games of politics and diplomacy, the High Arrion of the Sorcerers' Collective is plotting to destroy her -- and the entire Wolfblade line.

And while Marla's power and fortune are great, they may yet not be enough to protect herself and her family from the High Arrion's wrath -- and her only ally and confidant, Elezaar the Fool, is toying with the idea of betrayal.

For he has discovered that the infamous Rules of Gaining and Wielding Power are not so useful when his own family is involved...

The timeline jumps forward a number of years in this book and although a lot of the characters are still present, we are treated to several new POV characters as well. Marla is present of course but she is almost unrecognisable. She is now a ruler, who can’t afford to let her guard down at any point and is constantly scheming. She has adopted an identity where she projects an inexperienced and naïve exterior so that others underestimate her. This serves her well and is fun to watch as the reader is treated to her true dealings in her inner monologues. 

Marla also has a terrific trick of leading others to believe she wants something and so when they think they are defying her, they are actually behaving precisely how she wants them to behave. It is a good plot device as not only does it highlight how intelligent Marla is, it also leaves the reader guessing as to what her actual plans are.

Of the new POV characters I enjoyed Marla’s son Damin. Like his mother, Damin has adopted the tactic of letting others perceive him in a certain way. To others, he is the brash, youth who is mischievous and never takes anything seriously. Whilst this view may be true initially, it is good to watch Damin grow and his character change as events in the plot affect him.

Brayan Lightfinger remains my favourite character of the series. Always unwittingly involved in events in the palace and despite his positive outlook, he cuts a fairly tragic character. Once again he is tormented by the love he cannot obtain. It is his strong moral code and grounded outlook that make him pleasant to read.
As strong as the characters are and as engrossing as the political scheming is, the plot is not as cohesive as it might be. This could be due to the large cast of characters. Whilst the POV characters are great, the nephews, nieces and adopted children serve to confuse the narrative and a lot of the time I struggled to keep a handle on them all.

The ending is very satisfying, with one particular element resolved in a very realistic way. Marla had continued to ignore an issue and so I was pleased when the incident blew up and had to be dealt with. There is also a very random event that you can’t help think was used as a plot device. Although this was shocking, I couldn’t help but feel Fallon may regret her decision.

Overall, this was a strong continuation of the series and sets things up extremely nicely for the concluding volume in the series.

My rating: 8.6