|Submitted by Christopher Ware |
(Aug 20, 2001)
When I first came across this book (and it's two sequels), it sounded intriguing. I was expecting a somewhat above average tale, but what I got was a thoroughly captivating and well written story. By page three, I was unable to put it down. Ms. Chester throws enough hints, myths, and foreshadowing at you and so many hardships and obstacles at her characters that you have no choice but to keep reading to find out what happens next. Plus, since she has no compunction about killing off her characters, the outcome of their encounters is never certain. I was thoroughly caught up in the action scenes with my heart pounding in my throat. I felt like I was actually in the scene, her descriptions were so vivid. Adding to this is the fact that you come to care passionately for the characters. It seemed like her protagonists could never catch a break and that the world was aligned against them with insurmountable odds. Each time it seemed they had achieved a victory, some other hardship would befall them. They're frustrations became mine. Then there are the characters that aren't truly villains, but you hate them nonetheless because they are so despicable. Overall, the reason I enjoyed reading about the characters so much was that they are so realistic. They have fears and hatreds, strengths and weakness, everything that makes a person who he is. None of them are perfect and I have yet to find someone who is completely good or completely evil. There is a little bit of selfishness or honor or integrity in all of them. Chester has also created a truly vivid world. Bigotry, hatred, fear, politics, and religion all play major parts in creating the texture of the story. The protagonists must overcome these things, as well as their physical opposition. Then there are her creatures...the forces of the Nonkind (her creatures of darkness) are varied and imaginative and frightening. It reminds me a lot of Jordan's creativity in populating his world with minions of evil (remember reading about a Myrdraal for the first time?). Though there are some similarities with the demons from other stories, she adds enough differences to make them unique and interesting. The combination of the characters, world building, and action make for a very compelling read. I was thoroughly absorbed in the trials and victories of the characters. One thing that did confuse me though: which sword is the title referring to? There were several in this book that had extraordinary qualities, but I am unsure which one is the important one. Other than that though, I cannot recommend this book highly enough.