Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Review: The White Road

The White Road
Nightrunner Series #5
by Lynn Flewelling

The White Road is the fifth installment of Flewelling’s Nightrunner series, which started with Luck in the Shadows.  The series follows the escapades of Alec and Seregil, two elite spies, thieves, con artists, ect., who work for the Skalan Orëska, a school of wizards.

The book opens with Alec and Seregil’s return to Aurënen to deal with the fallout of their enslavement in Plenimar.  With them is the rhekaro Sebrahn, an alchemically created creature made from Alec’s essences.  Sebrahn is child sized, sexless, and capable of extreme feats of healing, as well as killing with his voice.  However, only being a few weeks old and not being human, so his grasp of what is going on and what he should and should not do is non-existent.  This makes it hard for Alec and Seregil to take care of him, as well as convince their hosts that Sebrahn is not a threat.  The rest of the book centers around finding out exactly what Sebrahn is, what his future will be, and preventing the making of more creatures like him.  And of course, it won’t be easy for our two heroes to stay alive.  Included in this is a great deal of Alec’s back story about the circumstances surrounding his birth, and Seregil’s back story is fleshed out as well.

I found this book to be enjoyable, and well written.  The plot was engaging, and I enjoyed it more than The Shadow’s Return, the previous book.  However, I have a small complaint in that I did not have time to re-read the previous four books before reading this one.  This series has a large cast of characters, and complex over-arching plot lines.  Actions taken in previous books can and will have direct consequences in later books.  I spent the first few chapters desperately trying to remember who everyone was, what their ulterior motives were, and what had taken place when and where.  I didn’t remember everything, but things calmed down eventually and I could concentrate on a few characters rather than a revolving door of minor characters that had supporting roles in previous books.  Complicating this is the fact that Luck in the Shadows, Flewelling’s debut, came out in 1996.  If you haven’t read it since then, I recommend you go back and re-read before picking up this book.  It’s doable without that, but you’ll get much more out of the book than I did if you do.


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