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Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Outcast Chronicles by Rowena Cory Daniells ~ Series Summary

Book Source: Author in exchange for an honest review 
The Outcast Chronicles by Rowena Cory Daniells ~ Series Summary
Besieged ~ Exile ~ Sanctuary
(Amazon Affiliate Links)

♥ Mini Review ♥
This is classic Epic Fantasy at its finest. There are forces of pure evil locked away on a separate plane; waiting for the unwary to provide them with a meal. There is magic and mayhem. Dirty politics and personal agendas. Prejudice and jealousy. But there is also love, loyalty and friendship. Nothing is simple and nothing comes easily. This entire story is full to the brim with a host of struggles resulting in outcomes both tragic and triumphant.

Epic Fantasy Series Review by Mulluane


♦ The Story. This tale revolves around three distinct peoples. On top are the self proclaimed "True-Men." This group is comprised of those who have no magical powers but fear and yes, even hate those who do. The next tier are the T'En. They are the mystics with powers that range from healing to killing the fierce predators of the upper plane. But for all their power, they are few in number. As a result they use the True-Men's fear of their powers to hold their hatred at bay. The third tier is the Half-Bloods. They normally have no magic of their own but do possess an affinity for magic that allows a T'En to bond with them to enhance their own power. Because of this ability the Malaunje, as they are called by the T'en, are protected and cherished while at the same time reviled and despised by the True-Men.

But lets dig a bit deeper into this massive scenario. Afterall it is epic fantasy. The True-Men have the types of problems you might expect. There are opportunists jockeying for position within the court. There are religious factions who are always grabbing for more power. And there is a King who is trying to keep his followers loyal through fear and intimidation.

The T'En too have internal problems. They are divided into Sisterhoods and Brotherhoods. Both are operating under an uneasy truce; each faction distrusting and fearing the other. To make things even more difficult, the different Brotherhoods are constantly fighting amongst themselves. Theirs is a world of strength and stature. Defeat the leaders of a weaker Brotherhood and you absorb that brotherhood into your own. Definitely a survival of the fittest scenario.

This is a dark, tragic world where babies are given up at birth if they are either Half-Bloods or T'En; much to the heartbreak of their unfortunate mothers. And to make things even more interesting, anyone, including full blooded True-Men, can give birth to a T'En or Half-Blood child. It is also a blood thirsty world with cutthroat politics, gender bias, racial discrimination, murder, rape, torture and betrayal. But good lurks in the corners just waiting for its chance to right the wrongs and fight against injustice.

♦ What I Liked. It would be easier to explain what I didn't like. But we will get to that later. Being the huge fangirl of true epic fantasy that I am, I loved this series. I have read far too many so called epics lately that to my mind, were not epic fantasy at all. It was a pleasant change to read something that was truly epic in every sense of the word.

This is, in my opinion, a plot driven story and I enjoyed it as such. The characters were interesting, occasionally fascinating, but I never bonded with any of them. Didn't have time. This story raced along at full speed. Book one alone covered about 20-30 years. Even so there were a few who stood out and those were also the ones who developed the most. At no time could you describe this saga as "static." Everything moved, changed, evolved or devolved. Paths to success failed at the last second. Betrayals suffered the same fate. Or.... either might succeed but with a twist that nobody could have predicted. I'll hang my head and admit that I caught myself using a profanity or twelve when events unexpectedly turned on their heads. However if a scheme actually worked, I wasn't expecting that either so those left me speechless.

♦ What I didn't like. I had a few problems. Annoyances really. I go into depth on those in the individual reviews but to recap I had to overcome a language barrier and a learning curve in book one and I vehemently disliked the ending of book three. Enough to cost it a star even though the book itself was excellent. We all have our pet peeves and I'm afraid the ending of book three nailed one of mine.

But...

This is one of those cases where, even though books 1 and 3 got 4 stars, I am giving the series as a whole a 5 star rating. The sum of the total is more than its individual parts. This really is an excellent epic fantasy.

♦ Conclusion. There is a challenge in reading true epic fantasy. You have to keep on your toes and really pay attention to the details. Epic fantasy tends to be multilayered, complicated, huge in scope with a massive amount of vital players and important storylines. When it is done well -- as this was -- it is a priceless experience. An exceptional epic fantasy should make you think, question and ponder your own views, prejudices and vices. It should make you shudder in horror and feel fortunate not to live in such a place under such harsh circumstances. It doesn't need to be character-driven if what you feel is sympathy for an entire race or races; combined with the hope that things will improve for the good guys and get worse for the bad.

This, for me, was a true Epic Fantasy. Highly recommended!

♦ Individual Reviews ♦

Besieged #1 ~ Exile #2 ~ Sanctuary #3

(Additional Info)
Author: Rowena Cory Daniells

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Content: Magical Gifts, Parallel World, Politics, Conflict

Series:  The Outcast Chronicles

Publishers: Solaris

Source: Author in exchange for an honest review
Cover Art: Clint Langley 

Author's Web Presence: 
WebpageFacebook ~ Twitter 

All are available in Kindle
See individual reviews for more information.

More Great Epic Fantasy Series
Already read the book? Please add your own rating!

Epic Fantasy Series Summary of The Outcast Chronicles by Rowena Cory Daniells - Reviewed by Mulluane - on May 29, 2014 - Rating: 5 of 5 Stars




Mulluane is a 54-year-old proud grandmother of 4, who is passionate about her pets, blogging, traditional fantasy, and tinkering with webdesign. She is obssesively photo shy but she uses an avatar that accurately represents her youth. ♥ You can also find her on:

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4 comments :

  1. If your review of the first book tickled my curiosity, the review for the trilogy just sent it to the top of my "read as soon as you can" list. This series looks complex and layered and I like the idea - frustrating as it might be - of never knowing if a character is safe or not: it adds spice to the pleasure of reading. So... thanks for sharing! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. On Amazon, on the third book I think, people complained about the huge cast of characters and the multiple storylines. It confused me. It is clearly epic fantasy so what were they expecting? It was one of those cases where a "bad" review was actually a "good" review. Huge cast of characters and multiple storylines? GIMME!!!

      I'll be curious to see a review from you on this one. I owe you a good recommendation. Last book/series you tried based on my review you ended up not caring for. My gut optimistically says that won't happen this time.

      Delete
  2. I'm still laughing about the complaints about multiple story-lines and huge casts of characters! And yet there's an interesting point in there, because I tend to look for the negative reviews first as an early-screening device for books: if they contain reference to some of my pet peeves (telling instead of showing, too much exposition, tendency at info-dumps) I know I can move on, but if the complaints are like the one you quoted, I know I might be on to something good.

    As for "Swordspoint" not working out for me, it was indeed a gamble, because it's a bit different from my usual... stomping grounds, so you need not feel guilty for leading me astray. And yes, I have a good gut feeling for this one as well - and usually this kind of feeling never lies to me. We'll see.... :-)

    ReplyDelete

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