The Sembia Series - Book 5
|Cover Artist:||Terese Nielsen|
|Release Date:||June 2002|
|Format:||Paperback book (312 pages).|
The following is taken from a description given by WotC:
In a household where everyone has a secret, why should the maid be
Other titles in The Sembia Series:
|I must admit I wasn't really looking
forward to reading this one. Lisa Smedman's contribution to 'The Halls
of Stormweather' was, I thought, the weakest of the lot, largely because
the character of Larajin seemed a little... well, 'wet' to me, and the
revelation of her elven ancestry seemed a little bit of an anti-climax
given some of the other secrets revealed in the anthology - ex-assassin,
werewolf, notorious time-travelling adventurer masquerading as a murdered
relative. You know what I'm saying? Anyway, I feel like a right idiot,
because Smedman's taken the simple ingredients introduced in her short
story and cooked up a veritable banquet of Realms excitement in the form
of a well-written rollercoaster of a novel. Wet, it ain't.
Against the backdrop of formenting war between the men of Sembia and the elves of the Tangled Trees, Smedman weaves a surprisingly personal tale with Larajin's discovery of her twin brother and her desperate desire to save her half-brother adding a poignant emotional urgency to the unfolding political drama. And Larajin is a tough cookie. She wades through sewage to mastermind her brother's escape, survives a caravan ambush and has the psychological strength and wit to end the conflict between elf and human with a minimum of bloodshed. The ending may seem a little twee, but it's nevertheless effective and, given Larajin's devotion to both Sune Firehair and Halani Celanil, not entirely unexpected.
Larajin's dual religion is perhaps the only real problem with the novel. On one hand, it makes perfect thematic sense - both in terms of Larajin's dual heritage, and also in regard to her seeking of a peaceful resolution to the human-elf animosity. In terms of the actual plot of the novel, however, there's only so much divine intervention a reader can take before the dramatic tension of the novel is gradually drained away and, towards the end of the novel, this began to happen for me. Larajin's sudden water-breathing ability in Chapter 11 seems particularly gratuitous, although her healing of the avariel elf in Chapter 9 is beautifully written and genuinely touching. I don't know. I guess it's a matter of personal opinion, but the kind of divine intervention that takes place in this novel should not come so easily. It should have a price.
That said, 'Heirs of Prophecy' remains an exciting, eminently readable novel peopled with believable, generally well-differentiated characters. Leifander, Kith and Larajin herself are all interesting characters and Drakkar is a fantastic villain, albeit somewhat belittled by the ending. Nevertheless, this is a good novel and I recommend it.
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