The sudden jump in time and a set of brand-new characters took a while
to get used to, there were strange inconsistencies or unexplained
details at key points, and I wasn’t sure what the book was about until
almost halfway through. The ending was sufficient to almost make up for
this, as the convergence of the three worlds caused a major shift in all
As with the second book, this one takes place decades after the previous
setting. This made it difficult to get reacquainted with the world, as
only one character remained from the first two installments in this
series. Not only that, but the world has also changed. The mystics have
grown into an Empire (as per the title), with several cities. But they
are repeating the mistakes of their former oppressors, the Pir. The
Mystics are given the highest power and social standing, and the common
folk have no say at all in what happens.
I liked the way most of the book took place in a land far from
Calasandria, where the Mystics are still in conflict with the Pir. The
lands to the south (Caribbean-type islands?) have known the Deep Magic
without losing it, as those in the North did. They have a connection
that is much deeper, and are much stronger than the Mystics we have
known to date. After learning that he is to engaged to Valana Conlan, a
member with status due to her bloodline, Prince Treijan fakes his own
kidnapping. He and Gaius travel to the lands down south, where they are
probably having a great time until Theona and Valana decide to go search
This book is more intimately tied with the other worlds than we’ve
previously seen. In the faery realm, Arryk lets a centaur into Dwynwyn’s
realm, because he shows the power of the sharaj (Deep Magic in that
realm). But that could be the spark of war with the Kyree, so he has to
take the creature back, but disappears as he is doing so, putting the
Kyree on the warpath. The other faeries won’t help out, because they
also resent those with the power of the sharaj. Why does Arryk
disappear? Because the goblin Lunid fell in love with him in the dream
world, and designed a cage to move him between the worlds, and captures
him from his world. He and the centaur break free, though, and end up
somehow traveling to save Treijan, Gaius and Theona from being murdered
by the Pir monk, bringing them all back to the faery world. The way the
cage/bubble moved south to Treijan seemed rather suspicious, and is
never explained. I suspect it was being drawn to the songstones he had.
The disappearance of Arryk devastates Lunid, but furthers the ambition
of the goblin king –he wants to invade the world of the gods. And he
does. While Treijan and Theona are in the world of the faery, the
goblins invade. I find it to be a cheat that the goblins never attacked
Calasandria. While I really liked the people of the southern island, I
think they were brought into existence simply so that the sacred city
wouldn’t be touched by the war.
Treijan decides that Theona must become his wife, as she is of the same
bloodline as her sister, and is infinitely more practical (treated as a
commoner, she never had any use for status and rank). She is also having
visions, talking directly to the gods, who show her the path that must
be taken in order to save the world. Full of sacrifices (though honestly
there is only one sacrifice, other than the barely-mentioned people of
the south), it is a road that will be hard for people to take. I figured
almost immediately that this path would give Theona the best of both
worlds. She and Gaius have fallen in love, but she has to marry Treijan.
I guessed correctly that her
would die, and that she could continue her
life with Gaius.
The rest of the book deals with the goblin army and how to stop it.
Meanwhile, Dwynwyn’s people are about to be overrun by the Kyree, so are
eager to move to the human world through this new gate. The functioning
of the gates are not really well described. The gate in the human cave
was connected to another human city, but it enlarged itself to
accommodate the faery gate. I thought the gates were twinned, which
implies two, and that it wasn’t possible to change the destination of a
gate (which is how Treijan got stranded on that island in the first
place, transporting it like Stargates).
The only battle we actually see comes when Theona hatches a plan to
rescue her new husband and the others with Deep Magic from the goblin
anti-magic cages Lunid had created, in order to close the gate. It is
never explained how Theona could use the dream world without having any
other symptom –even the goblin cages have no effect on her. Yet she
still uses it. Also, why didn’t the goblin capture King Pe’akanu or his
people? Instead, most are dead, and the king is fighting from the hills.
Why are only the main characters worth capturing and keeping in a cage?
Regardless, Theona and the duplicitous dwarf disable the goblin guards
(good thing there were only two) and free her friends. Treijan
reactivates the gate to the faery world, and Dwynwyn’s people understand
the sacrifice they will need to make to come to the human world –fight
the goblins. May die on all sides, including Treijan, but in the end it
is Meklos and Lunid who save them and their world. Being a Pir
dragon-speaker, Meklos is stripped of his magic by Pe’akanu’s people,
and is told that once he realizes the true path, he’ll be free. So when
Theona blasts him verbally for doing nothing to stop the massacre, we
know it is only a matter of time before he decides to change his ways.
He calls the gigantic dragon of the islands, and rides the beast into
the battle, destroying several Titans before make a last fatal (for the
dragon) leap to destroy the rest of them. In the meantime, Lunid sees
Arryk through the gate, and runs in to prevent him from being murdered
by her leader, who shoots her instead. Apparently it was Lunid herself
who was the songstone of this gate (I thought it was the books), because
when she died, the gate closed.
In the world of the goblins, chaos now reigns, as apparently only their
charismatic leader and his Titans could keep them focused. In the faery
world, the Kyree attack and plunder the Sharajin world, not knowing
where they fled. They take the dwarf captive, as he snuck through the
gate during the battle before it was deactivated. What will the Kyree
learn from him? That there exists a way to travel to the other worlds?
Will the worlds ever be truly safe?
There were a lot of inconsistencies and strange things happen to make
this story come to its conclusion, and for much of the book I didn’t
know what the actual purpose was. But the characters were decent enough
and their individual stories kept
interested in at least them. The big
battle was fun, though now that I know Meklos is to be redeemed, I wish
he had been featured a lot more, maybe even make him the main character.
The people of Calasandria will also need to change, and they seem to be
up for the challenge.