|Submitted by Christopher Ware |
(Sep 03, 2001)
This is the second book in Deborah Chester's trilogy: The Sword, The Ring, and The Chalice (following THE SWORD). Again, just as in the first book, she is brilliant in developing her characters and making the reader care for the protagonists. Not only are her characters vivid and interesting, but their reactions to their surroundings and the situations they find themselves in are realistic. What makes things truly enjoyable are the characters' interactions with one another. Their emotions are rendered beautifully and the dialogue is a joy to read. On top of this, the storytelling is quite intelligent. The reader never knows what's going to happen next because Chester doesn't have her protagonists overcoming every obstacle with ease. They are truly challenged at every turn, thus providing the reader with a sense of suspense and urgency. In some fantasy, the choices that the characters make are obvious and the reader can immediately discern what will occur because of them. Not so in this case. The reader has a general idea of where the author is taking them, but can never really predict the path the characters will take along the way. This makes for some very engaging reading. Once the reader has come to care for the characters, they cannot help but keep reading to find out what happens to them. What seems unjust to me is that Chester is not as widely recognized (yet) as such authors as Raymond E. Feist or Robin Hobb, despite the fact that her writing is as good as, if not better than, theirs. She's not quite up to the level of Jordan, Brooks, or Martin, but her books are still fascinating reads. If you haven't read anything by her yet, I highly recommend this series (I can't wait to get to the third book, THE CHALICE).