Sorry folks for my late start … my website was down all of Monday and most of today due to technical issues.
To be sure, the beginning and the ending of the novel hearkens to book two with its action, villains, and beastmen, but the larger middle reminds me much of book one with its careful presentation of the faults and failures of a society teetering on collapse.
Book one dealt with the fall of House Abascar and King Cal-Marcus. This novel deals with House Bel-Amica and Queen Thesera. The first kingdom appeared prosperous, solid, and likely to last forever, but it fell… with a tumultuous crash that shook the expanse.
For the second house… well, to not give away the ending… let’s just say that all the right ingredients are present for it to degenerate, nay mutate, into a nightmare. As if it isn’t one already.
In each of these houses we see echoes of our own western society… the focus on self-fulfillment, youth, power, fads, and luxury. And this is the chief danger, the primary tool that the seers use to entrap the citizens and the royalty.
While book two is filled with horrific, physical danger at the hands of beastmen, book three has the subtler, serpentine danger of the temptation to forget one’s calling, one’s history, and go with the flow, stop caring, and give in.
And the young King Cal-Raven is right at the vortex. Undertaking a mission given by the Keeper, he sees a glorious vision of his house’s future, but then loses all… beginning with his boot. Taken as a slave to House Bel-Amica, he must face his doubts, his temptations, his failures, and his past to help those who need help the most, including his lost and enslaved mother.
And in the process Cal-Raven uncovers the greatest secret of his enemies, the seers, setting up the next novel… with yet more secrets to reveal, and a climactic finish.
That is, of course, unless Jeffrey has another novel up his sleeve (rubs hands together hopefully, hee-hee).
If you love fantasy novels, then this series, including Raven’s Ladder, is worthy of your highest attention. Written with a non-intrusive lyrical quality using careful attention to craft, Jeffrey Overstreet has created a series of first-rate novels you will thoroughly enjoy.