RogerBW's Blog

Path of the Sun, Violette Malan 03 June 2022

2010 fantasy, fourth in the Dhulyn and Parno series. Our mercenary heroes escort a princess to her wedding; but they're also sent to find out what happened to the last two mercenaries sent to that court…

So there's an obvious wicked uncle (perhaps too obvious) who may be setting up a coup, and a killer who's carving people open in a baroque and distinctive way, and an ancient labyrinth that may lead rather further than it appears to… and characters returning from the first book (which I read eight years ago), and a whole separate world on the other side of the labyrinth that has its own huge problems…

It's all a bit much, I think, not particularly helped by the multiple narrative strands: the story of the coup and how to deal with it might make a decent book on its own, as might the story of finding the killer, as might the story of fixing the other-world problems, but instead we're jumping back and forth between them and none of them ever really gets enough time to develop.

Which is frustrating, because even with the limited space Malan does a pretty good job. All right, I'm not fond of obvious villains, but at least they have something like reasons for what they do, and the problems are interesting problems rather than just ones to be solved by hitting people. As matters progress, we seem to be approaching something like a solution to several of the problems…

…and then the book cuts off very much in the middle of things, and sales weren't good enough to get more books accepted for publication, so that's probably it for this series. On that basis alone I can't recommend this book, and that's a shame because I've watched Malan develop as the series has progressed to come up with a really interesting voice and a surprisingly effective fantasy setting.

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Previous in series: The Storm Witch | Series: Dhulyn and Parno

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