Friday, March 11, 2011

Five Odd Honors - Jane Lindskold

The first half of this book is just a simple continuation of the previous book. The Orphans have created the Nine Gates (actually, they made the first gate, then rescued the guardians who created the rest of the gates for them), but in order to open the final gate into the Lands, they need to have a representative of each of the 12 Earthly Branches, so they continue in their attempts to contact the ghosts of the original exiles for those five branches whose descendants have lapsed. There are some very unexpected challenges to overcome, and some things which should be challenges which wind up being unexpectedly easy. The practical upshot is that we wind up with five new characters who were the original exiles. One of them, Loyal Wind, the Horse, actually becomes a POV character which is pretty fascinating because he didn't spend much time in our world, but he has had most of a century of experience as a ghost which has definitely impacted the person he is now.

Pearl and Brenda remain POV characters, but we lose Honey Dream which makes sense as she is now definitely on the same side as the Orphans and is generally in the same physical location as Pearl. Once the gates are opened they discover that all is not as expected in the Lands, and so a group of scouts are chosen to go through and figure out what exactly is going on. It is now September, and real life goes on even though exciting things are still happening, so Brenda winds up back at school which leads to some interesting exploration of the other side of her heritage. I was expecting a giant conflict to come of this, especially because it is hinted at all throughout the first book, and practically set up in the second book, but instead of conflict there is cooperation. The conflict arises from an entirely unexpected quarter and focuses around Pearl Bright.

The ending to this story is good and wraps up the trilogy nicely. There are still a ton of open questions, but I think that will always be the case at the end of a good fantasy story. The ending to the story occurs once most of the major questions regarding the folks from our world have been answered, but before everyone has gone back to life as usual. This was pretty satisfying as I could imagine several different ways in which things play out once people try to get on with their lives, and there are tons of possibilities open for everyone. I'm really hoping this isn't the end though. I'm still really wrapped up in the characters. I want to know what happens in the Lands next, I want to know how things with Flying Claw turn out, I want to know what Brenda chooses to do next, I want to watch Lani grow up, I want to see whether the relationship between the Orphans and the other indigenous magical traditions changes now that they are no longer Orphaned.

So, Jane Lindskold, here's hoping that you decide to write another trilogy in this world!

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