Friday, July 2, 2010

The Mageborn Traitor by Melanie Rawn

Synopsis From Back Cover:

For generations the Mage Guardians and the Lords of Malerris have waged a secret war against one another -  and the world of Lenfell has paid the price.  And though the Mage Guardians came close to being destroyed in the last confrontation, the Malerrisi were ultimately forced to withdraw, relinquishing much of the control they had gained.

But their retreat has not been as complete as it seems.  For Glenin, former First Daughter of Ambrai, is determined to have her revenge and regain her power, plotting the ruin of her sisters, Sarra, Councillor of Sheve, and Cailet, the new Mage Captal, while the Malerrisi -  under Glenin's leadership -  once again begin weaving a web with which to entangle their entire world.

And even as Cailet's dream of a restored Mage Hall becomes a reality, and Sarra's legal reforms offer the hope of greater prosperity and equality for all people, Glenin prepares to strike a the very heart of both of her sister's power.  All it will take is the betrayal of Ambrai's most closely guarded family secret, and the right traitor planted in the heart of Cailet's haven - a traitor trained to be the nemesis of all Mage Guardians; Glenin's perfect tool of destruction and most loyal follower - her own son...

After I had reviewed the first book in the series, Ruins of Ambrai, I had pretty much thought that I had discovered my Achilles Heel of blogging.  After trying to review this second book in the series, I'm positive that reviewing epic fantasy is not my strong suit.  With epic fantasy there are so many story lines all vying for your attention and such a large (though brilliant) cast of characters, that it's hard for me to separate out what I should tell you and what is safe to leave out of a review.  I'm actually hoping that Melissa of My World...In Words and Pages decides to read this trilogy because she is brilliant at reviewing epic fantasy.  She is able to give the right details and sum up the action in a way I can only bow to.

What I do want to say about this book is that it acts as a good transition from the world building and action of the first one.  It starts a few years later and continues the action that was set up in Ruins of Ambrai.  It adds more layers to the society so we are able to see some of the motivations of the characters and the society as a whole a little clearer.  The first half of the book is really the prelude for what happens in the latter half.  By the time you get to the end of this book your head will be spinning and you will sit there for a while as you digest and contemplate the ramifications of how this installment ends. 

There are only two other things I want to briefly touch upon.  Melanie Rawn has no problems killing off characters, both minor and major.  She proved it with the rather large body count in the first book and she continues that trend in this one.  Characters you love and love to hate bite the dust in both books, some of them will make you very sad to see them go.  What I appreciate about how she does is though is that every death makes sense.  None of them are wasted since they all help to propel the story forward.

The second issue I wanted to briefly touch upon is that this book was first published in 1997.  Thirteen years later we are still waiting for the final book in the trilogy, The Captal's Tower, to be written.  A lot of the delay has been attributed to Melanie Rawn's health, though at this time there is still no information on when the book will be done.  Now with that being said, I would still encourage everyone to read these first two books so you are able to experience epic fantasy at it's best.  I promise that even if this trilogy is never finished (let's not even think about that), you will not find that you wasted your time by reading the first two books.


Staci said...

I have this one somewhere but I've never picked up #1...sounds like a fascinating series. I understand how this is hard to review as the worlds and writing are very complex.

bookmagic said...

I think you did a fine job reviewing!

Ryan said...

Staci, Pick it up as soon as possible. I promise that you'll love it.

Deb, Thanks :-)