Dark Haven

The war might have been won but the fighting is far from over.  King Martris Drayke, having secured the throne of Margolan, now welcomes Kiara to Shekerishet to be his Queen.  What should be a happy time for them is shadowed by plot, threat and intrigue and it seems some of Jared’s former supporters would see Tris’ rule end before it truly began.  Jonmarc Vahanian takes his place as Lord of Dark Haven, and as a place of both refuge and home to humans, Vayash Moru and Vyrkin, life is seldom going to be boring. Overjoyed that Carina is going to join him, but with matters within the blood council tense and fragile, he fears he won’t be able to keep her safe. A faction of ‘those who walk the night’ would see Dark Haven with an immortal lord and would go to great lengths to see that realised.

Dark Haven is the third book of the Chronicles of the Necromancer and follows directly on from The Blood King.  I did wonder how Martin would write this novel, having everyone splitting off from the central group they started as, but I have to say it was well done.  It didn’t feel at all disjointed when the story changed to another character’s and each time the progression felt natural.

It was good to see each of the characters I’ve grown to love, rather than the story focussing on one pair of them; the title of this book did make me wonder if that would be the case.  Happily it was not, and Tris and Kiara play as much a part in this book as Carina and Vahanian.  Carroway, Soterius, Harrtuck, Gabriel and Mikhail are of course along for the ride too.

The plot was exciting with so much intrigue coming at them from all corners I wonder how much more they can take and still be true to themselves.  The problems with the flow of magic is an interesting facet and is another ticking bomb along with the rest of the plotlines, and I thought it was good that the characters who are sensitive to it, know there is a problem and the danger it inherently presents but are too hard pressed by mortal threat to be able to figure out what to do about it.  As I read through the book it felt like everything the characters endured, was slowly pressing them together in a vice and somewhere along the line there is going to be one hell of an explosion.

The writing was again smooth and easy to read, the story gripping and with enough tension to keep me turning the pages, needing to know what happens next.  I have to say the end of the book had me gasping and as I have the final book in the series waiting on my desk, I’ve had to force myself to not pick it up until this review was done!

Excellent and enjoyable epic fantasy from Gail Z. Martin.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Gail Z. Martin
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

The Blood King

Time is fast running out for Prince Martris Drayke, with the Hawthorn Moon scant months away and still so much to learn about his power.  If he and his friends are to save Margolan and the Winter Kingdoms, and prevent his brother Jared and the Evil Sorcerer Arantola from raising of the Obsidian King they have to push themselves to their absolute limits.  Maybe even at the cost of their own lives.

The Blood King is the second book in the Chronicles of the Necromancer and is a worthy successor to The Summoner.  This book felt as if it was set at a slightly slower pace which I found interesting since there was actually a lot more urgency to the story.  Perhaps with the group of characters splitting off to do their own tasks for the coming battle, this was inevitable but the transitions moving from one group to another were very smooth and didn’t detract at all from the story.

The plot was as interesting as the first novel, in particular the lengths Tris and the others have to go to and through, to set things in motion in the time they have left.  Their fear, vulnerability, love and compassion are really well written and at no time did I feel they were over powered and guaranteed success without effort.  I still love Tris and Kiara but Carina and Vahanian have become a close second.  The darker parts of the book were quite harrowing, in particular when spirits come to Tris looking for peace and you find the true extent of Jared’s insanity and depravity.

The only negative thing I have to say is Martin has a tendency to over use a few key phrases but they do play their own small part in the story, so it is a minor complaint.

I was a bit surprised by the conclusion to this book but am looking forwards to finding out what happens in the third book in this series.

Quality fantasy once again from Gail Z. Martin.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Gail Z. Martin
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

 

The Summoner

As second son to the King of Margolan, Prince Martris Drayke never expected, nor wanted to be, in line for the Throne.  After witnessing his cruel and vicious older brother take over the Kingdom in a night of bloody violence, he is forced to flee or be killed along with everyone that had been loyal to his father.   With few options, Tris and his closest friends set out on a journey to find allies, avenge their dead and come to terms that their world has now changed forever.  Their best chance is Tris himself, able to see and speak to ghosts, he is the untrained heir of his Grandmother, a Summoner of great power who could work with the living and the dead.  He must find a way to unlock his potential and become the one thing King Jared and Arontala, his twisted sorceror, fear most.  The Summoner.

I’d been looking for a good, epic fantasy to sink my teeth into again lately, and happened to notice The Sworn by Gail Z. Martin in a prominent place in the bookstore.  I liked the premise, but realised it was the start of a second series.  Since I like to start from the beginning, I went looking and found book one of the Chronicles of the Necromancer – The Summoner.

I had no expectations, I’d never read Gail Z. Martin’s work before, but I have to say I found it compelling right from the very first page.  The characters are really well rounded and expertly written, and I grew to like and then love them very quickly.  Of course when the author is not afraid to write about the darker side of life, this can create a slight pang to the heart!

The story was excellent and I must admit, I do love quests and being on the journey with the characters, joining them to do whatever they must, to see their world safe.  There is of course a danger of many tropes and cliches with this type of fantasy and some of them are unavoidable.  Where Martin excels, is when she takes some of them and uses them to further the story, turning them into a positive thing instead of letting it become ‘yet another epic quest fantasy’.  Instead she created an engaging and intriguing tale that kept me gripped right to the last page.

The pace of the story is good, the writing very smooth, easy to read and I couldn’t put it down.  By the end I was so absorbed and wanting more, I immediately ordered the rest of the series.

An astonishingly good read that does much to revitalise the genre.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Gail Z. Martin
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)