Friday, June 29, 2012

What I've Read This Week

What I've Read This Week . . .

Master of Heathcrest Hall (Magicians and Mrs. Quent) by Galen Beckett -- Historical Fantasy

In the conclusion to the trilogy the situation in Altania is dire. The red planet Cerephus comes ever closer and Ivy can not seem to solve the clues her father left for her. Even so, her husband is poised on the brink of greatness but his noble nature may end up causing the Quents to lose everything. Rafferdy has come into his own as a member of a secret arcane society but the rival magnates and the government are doing all they can to destroy what Rafferdy knows to be good. Eldyn enjoys life in the theater but misses Dercy. When he learns how to make impressions (engravings) he finally discovers how to do something worthy with his life, but at great personal cost. As the planets march towards conjunction when the Ashen can enter the world, Ivy and Rafferdy race to save the world with some unexpected help. This book resembles the second one in tone. It's non-stop, heart-pounding adventure. I had to remind myself to breathe on more than one occasion. Though the action was exciting and I couldn't put the book down, I'm still left a bit confused as to the political history of the realm. The magical history is finally explained after an awkward first chapter that doesn't feature any of the existing characters. There are lots of plots twists and characters finding their allegiance that it's hard to keep up with. Eldyn's story is mostly slow and boring but less so than in the previous two books. I really didn't like Ivy in this book. She has gone from a strong, intelligent woman to a weak, scared girl. There's no denying she is under a lot of stress and what she has to go through is enough to make any woman weep, but I did not think the way she handled her problems was in line with everything else we know about her. It was not until the end that the strong Ivy returned. I also felt the ending was anti-climatic. We're told what happened after it happens without being a part of the action. That, in my opinion, is poor storytelling. Plus something happened just before the climax of the story that also made the ending a bit anti-climatic. The epilogue takes place too soon. It's nice but the beginning is slow and like Ivy, I'm curious about certain genetic traits and I was hoping the epilogue would continue long enough to answer that question. The existing epilogue should have been the last chapter with an epilogue one year after that! There's room for a spin-off if the author so chooses or to leave it as is. This book is definitely worth the read for those who read the first two.

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