Friday, 2 March 2012

FANTASY REVIEW: The Hadrumal Crisis 2: Darkening Skies - Juliet E McKenna

Release Date: 01/03/12


In Halferan, Captain Corrain is hailed as a hero, but he knows all such praise would turn to anger if the Caladhrians knew what had really happened. The wizard who supposedly saved them has claimed the corsair island for his own. Corrain fears the worst, as he confides in Lady Zurenne of Halferan. But this disastrous turns of events cannot be concealed from Hadrumal's mages. Planir's leadership is openly questioned despite the best efforts of his confidante, the magewoman Jilseth and his other friends and allies. Surely he will enforce his authority by crushing this upstart? Unless the Aldabreshin warlords act first. That island lies on the outer fringes of their Archipelago. The warlords are watching the ominous skies as a once in a lifetime conjunction of the stars approaches. Will the warlords be content to drive this solitary wizard out of the Archipelago or had the time come for them to destroy all magic?


When starting a new series, the first book sets the tone and key world building points that bring the reader to the authors layer, whilst for many this is seen as the key part of any series, for me it’s the foundations with the second title acting as the ground stone to keep you safely ensnared within the worlds believability as well as charms.

In this, the second book in Juliet’s Hadrumal saga, the tale not only gets more complex but the inter character relationships alongside political machinations really seek to keep you guessing as the story wends its way. What perhaps makes this even more fun is that for the reader the principle players are “pawns” within the overall world chess game being played by their political masters. Its intricate, the overall weave of threads is coming together nicely and for the reader there’s also those playing behind the scenes whilst our lead heroes seek to find ways to extricate themselves alongside staying alive.

It’s enjoyable, the pace ideal and the authors manipulations of the troughs alongside peaks of pace really keep you going throughout. Finally add some great prose and believable dialogue and it’s a solid tale all in.

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