Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Fae: The Sins of the Wyrde review

    I've talked about Graham Austin-King's Riven Wyrde trilogy before and it's a book series which deserves a good amount of attention. It's a bit schizophrenic, verging from Young Adult adventurism to grimdark brutality, but that's part of the reason I love it.

    No one ever said fantasy had to be one thing and it's ability to be many is what guarantees it will always exist. The Riven Wyrde series began in The Wild Hunt, continued in The Realm of Twilight, and ends here. Is it as good as the others and does it end in a satisfying conclusion? Mostly, yes. Having created a fascinating and entertaining world with a reasonably large cast, Graham Austin-King was bound to leave some questions unanswered.

    I suspect some of these have to do with the fact I was really interested in the Church of New Days plotline when it was, nevertheless, nothing but a sideshow to the existing plot. I was interested in the fate of religious peasant Tia, other believers who resisted the Fae, how they would cope with the fact their religion was created by the Fae, and whether or not it was something the enemy had created wholesale or adopted for their own purposes. None of this is addressed in the book.

    There's other questions unanswered like the fate of the lands conquered by the Bjornmen, the reign of certain characters, and more but all of this was never going to be as central as the plotline of the Fae's return. In that respect, Fae: The Sins of the Wyrde delivers on what was promised by the title. We get a satisfying and complete resolution to their story arc with the major characters related to them getting their tales told.

    The premise for this volume is simple: the Bjornmen and Anglish are both under siege by the Fae. The Fae have stopped holding back and have begun wholesale depopulation of regions thanks to the deranged dreams of their extremist leader. This gives the basis for an unlikely alliance that may be brokered by a character I never expected to see again in Book 1#'s Miriam. When last we saw her, she was being carried off by the fae to a horrific fate. Now an old woman, she has the potential to bridge the gap between two otherwise irreconcilable factions.

    Overall, I'm quite pleased with the way the book ended. Aside from my issues with uninterested questions, my only real complaints are how some things came a little too easy. At one point, a character says that killing a monarch is easier than imprisoning him and that martyrs are easier to deal with than a living problem. This is such a dumb statement it dramatically undercut my respect for the character's intelligence since it was pretty much historically the exact opposite. Everyone hated Charles the First but his death made him a martyr for absolute monarchs for centuries to come.

    On the other hand, I really liked the return of Miriam. She had a fascinating introduction in the first book and seeing her carried off felt like an anticlimax to her story. While wildly unlikely she would survive with her sanity intact through all the Fae's activities, I felt she remained the strong character of the original novel. Likewise, I enjoyed how the characters weren't able to achieve total victories over their enemies but had to make accommodations in the name of peace.

    Indeed, I also applaud some of the plotlines not ending in a traditionally satisfying manner. One major character has done everything in her power to find her child and then, ultimately, discovers there's nothing she can do to find them. It's respective of life there's sometimes no good answers and the world will kick you in the guts. Putting that into his story rather than a dramatic reunion worked for me.

    In conclusion, you should definitely buy this if you're a fan of the previous volumes. I didn't take to it quite as well as the others but I do think it's a great little story. I cared about the characters, where they went, and how their plotlines resolved so that was probably the best endorsement I could give them.


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