|Submitted by Helen Kerslake |
(Jan 10, 2007)
In the third volume of The Valerian Chronicles Valerius seeks to claim his rightful crown and rid the land of his brother Fantar's tyranny. Having recently defeated the army of Zagorbia, King Valerius is finally able to move his followers out from hiding and utilises the city as his base camp. However a siege quickly threatens to ruin his plans and he must rely on the aide of his half-brother Thorngere, sister Vahla and his own Eye Stone if he is to have any chance of success.
Straight away the reader is plunged into a wonderfully written, dramatic prologue which leaves you curious, eager to plunge ahead and read more. This is followed by an opening chapter from the King's perspective which demonstrates how much he has changed since we were first introduced to the character. As more and more people accept him as their righful ruler we see how the increasing responsibilities affect Valerius and leave him torn between what he should do for the kingdom and what he wishes to do to protect his family.
After a fantastic start to the book I was disappointed to note a repetitiveness in the writing; events from book two were rehashed in such a way that it became a struggle to keep moving forward. Luckily as soon as the author transitioned to the paths of important characters other than the King, he regained the simple, flowing writing style which I had previously enjoyed.
The focus of this book seems to be warfare and military tactics. While I appreciate that these were important aspects to determine Valerius' obstacles and how he overcomes them, I feel that the story would have benefited from knowing more about the characters' emotions and thoughts. There are sections where we see the characters brooding over their problems, unsure of whether to trust their head or their heart, but these passages were not nearly frequent enough. I also found it difficult to follow what was happening when T.R.Rankin skipped between several points of view within the one short chapter. An example of this was near the end when Valerius had gone up the mountain to seek his prophecy. We see him climb the mountain and utilise the Eye Stone, then it cuts to Koltar below wondering what is happening and if Valerius' motives are the best for their people. However the way in which the passage was written completely overshadowed this pivotal moment.
About halfway through the book I began to suspect that 'Valerius Everreigning' was not the final instalment of The Valerian Chronicles judging by the pace of events and how much was still left to be resolved. Without wishing to spoil the ending for those who have yet to read this book, I can say that the ending was rushed and I felt that to conclude things in such an unfulfilling way marred what could have been a brilliant new fantasy trilogy. Overall a decent book to read but one that does not live up to the expectations which 'Valerius the King' previously set.