A Fantasy Series Book Review
Genre: Epic Fantasy, 16+
Publisher: Tor Fantasy (August 29, 2006)
Mass Market Paperback: 640 pages
Read an Excerpt
Marla Wolfblade of Hythria is determined to restore her family's great name, but conspirators surround her: the Sorcerers' Collective, the Patriots -- even members of her own family. She must make sure her son Damin lives to be old enough to restore the Wolfblade name to its former glory.Jennifer Fallon returns to the world she created in the Demon Child Trilogy, only around 20 years in the past. This time she explores the life of Marla Wolfblade, mother of the famed warlord Damin Wolfblade. It was a marvelous choice. Even though the glimpses of Marla in the Demon Trilogy were few, they were enough to intrigue me. I was delighted to be given the opportunity to learn more about Hythria, Marla and her son.
Elezaar the Dwarf is a small man with big secrets -- but that doesn't matter to Marla Wolfblade. Her brother is the High Prince of Hythria, and, in this fiercely patriarchal society, her fate will be decided on his whim. She needs someone politically astute to guide her through the maze of court politics -- and Elezaar the Dwarf knows more than he lets on.
As Elezaar teaches Marla the Rules of Gaining and Wielding Power, Marla starts on the road to becoming a tactician and a wily diplomat -- but will that be enough to keep her son alive?
Now in case you have not gathered it already, there is an order in which this series as a whole needs to be read. This series was marketed in two different ways. In the US, it was published as two different trilogies. First was the Demon Child Trilogy then the Wolfblade Trilogy. In other places, it was one 6-book series, this technically being book 4. It is my considered opinion that they need to be read in that order, otherwise I am afraid that there are certain nuances in the Wolfblade Trilogy that will leave you confused.
Now on to the review. I generally like to start with what I did not like. When it comes to any story written by Jennifer Fallon however, I find that to be a difficult thing to do. If I had to pin down a complaint about Wolfblade it would be that, it seems a bit rushed at times. Not a huge deal, it is back-story so it skips from major event to major event a little too quickly at times in order to accomplish what it sets out to do, cover the life of Marla Wolfblade from marriageable age to just a few years after the birth of Damin.
Now the good stuff. Oh my where do I start! Jennifer Fallon excels in just about every area, great dialogue, tricky politics, awesome characterization, and intricate world building. I have to admit though; my favorite characters are the gods and the Harshini demons. I love the whole system actually. Dace, the God of Thieves is just hilarious and the young demons crack me up. Even better then interactive gods though is a god dependent magic system that just plain makes sense. Brak is another of my favorites and I was happy to see him make an appearance here. Jennifer Fallon does a great job of creating a half human, half Harshini with wit, irreverence, charm and yet somebody you do not ever want to cross. She also does an exceptional job with Elezaar, the dwarf court'esa. Now this is a man whose motives are so clear and so believable that you cannot help but hope that his endeavors prove successful. What this unobtrusive little slave does with a confused and amazingly naive young girl is nothing short of miraculous. It was fun watching the Marla you meet in the beginning of the story become the woman you met in the Demon Child Trilogy. I enjoyed it immensely!
As far as content, there are adult themes. Some slaves are trained as court'esas and young men and women are encouraged to make free use of them prior to getting married. Both partners of a marriage are expected to come to the marriage bed well skilled in the arts of lovemaking. Even after marriage, use of a court'esa is not considered infidelity - they are only slaves afterall - though in most cases a husband will not allow his wife's court'esa to join his household. There is very little violence in this first book of the series, the focus is on politics instead. I am sure though that we will see more violence as Damin develops in later books. I feel safe saying that this is readable for 16+, the themes are adult, but the details are handled with tact.
If you love politics, great characterization, detailed, and varied social, economic, and religious world building plus a believable magic system, you will love this book. If you have already read the first three, you can be assured you will like the added details to the back-story that this book provides. If you have not read the first three yet, I highly recommend that you do so. Awesome series and one of my all time favorites!
Other books in the trilogy
All the books in the series
Shelfari Rating 4/5
Librarything Rating 4.19/5
Amazon Rating 4 out of 5 stars
(14 Customer Reviews)
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