This book was far more interesting than the
first. Maybe because of the quest aspect, or I might have liked the
characters better. The characters also got to do more than simply react.
They did some thinking in order to come out of the situations they found
themselves in. This is still not a great series, but it shows a little
more promise than it did a book ago.
All three worlds in
this book have changed, and for the most part, we deal with a new
generation of characters. They also use their newfound magic more
freely, without really questioning why it works. There is less
interaction between the worlds, until the very end, where they must work
together in order to win their struggles.
As in the last book,
the human world dominates. But the key to the puzzle comes from the
goblin world. Mimic has been king for more than twenty years, and in
that time, he has conquered most of the goblin realms, turning the pages
of books to
keep the Titans and other machinery moving. As this book starts, he
captures Thux, the wizard (scientist, actually) of a far-away realm. He
sends Thux off to spy on a great ogre city, where he discovers a library
-full of complete books, and here he realizes that they mean something
more than just making machines move. They are meant for learning things!
And he worries that when Mimic's army arrives, they will cart away the
books, which he realizes must be kept in a certain order to make sense. The ogres
welcome war, as the last of the Titans told them to defend the
palace-city. The ogres are easily losing the battle until Thux manages
to activate a bronze sphere, which activates ancient Titans and lifts a
part of the Citadel into the air, scaring the army into surrender.
I liked Thux, who was more of a tinkerer and inventor than anything.
All he wanted in life was to work with his devices, but Mimic kept
promoting him (to his dismay), and he just spied for the king so he could get back to
his wife. He is the one who probably learns most in this book, but of
course he had the longest way to go!
In the faery world, Dwynwyn
sends her apprentice Shaeonyn, as well as the newly-emerged mystic
Princess Aislynn on a quest of her own, as her dreams tell her to do.
She doesn't know what they are searching for, so they organize a
pilgrimage to the ancient Kyree lands, to bury the recently-deceased
They travel into lands controlled by non-faeries, which
scares all the faeries, though they continue onward through the death of
one of their number, a rocky boat ride, and a betrayal by Shaeonyn. The
Kyree send them to a sequence of prison-islands because they think they
can only trust Shaeonyn. As one of their number runs out of energy,
Aislynn and the others help him to make it to the first island. There
she discovers they all have some sort of magical ability, and she
creates a bubble of air that allows them to walk along the sea bottom
instead of trying to fly the impossible distance. The plan works
perfectly until they gain the interest of a sea-snake, which tries to
eat them, then brings them far from where they want to go. Oops.
Eventually they end up in the realm of the mer-folk, who claim that
Dwynwyn was stealing their magic by taking the dead from the sea. They
think the mission to the Kyree lands may help them, so they transport
the air bubble there, and the faeries arrive a few hours ahead of Shaeonyn and
In the Kyree lands, Aislynn discovers Kyree people
merged with their surroundings (literally half inside buildings and
streets), and a bronze sphere that was
disassembled and put back together incorrectly, probably the cause of
all the problems of the last four hundred years. As Shaeonyn appears and
reveals that she is one of the undead herself (with access to all that
magic? really?), Aislynn enters the dream world, where she notes the
orientation of Thux's sphere, and puts it back together correctly. She
also discovers a sword that allows them to kill undead warriors that she
unleashed at the end of the last book. One of her group uses that to
destroy Shaeonyn. Presumably, the magic has been restored to its proper
orientation, so I wonder what changes that will wreak in the Faery
kingdoms. It will take the next book to find out.
As for the
humans, they spend a lot of time traveling through the mountains. Galen sends his son Caelith
south, to where the wind blows in his dreams. He believes the Pir monks
have discovered the lost city of the gods, Calasandria, and the guide
ends up being another son he never knew, Jorgan, from the woman he
thought he loved more than life itself -Berkita -who ended up becoming a
Pir monk after he abandoned her in that city decades ago in
Mystic Warrior. She became
pregnant the day he was chosen for the Election.
It turns out
that Galen's actions on the field of battle at the end of the last book
really sent the world spiraling out of control, as the dragons fought
each other, and the humans turned against all those who might have a
hint of the mystic power, for fear of the wrath of the dragons and the
monks. The plan, which is obviously a trap from the beginning, is to
bring all mystics out of the dragon lands so they are no longer a
nuisance or a threat, and send them to their ancient home. From the
dragon perspective, of course, they want all the mystics together so
they can kill them all.
Caelith and Jorgan do not get along at
all, coming at magic from completely different perspectives, and being
right from their points of view, but they don't have all the
information. Thankfully they meet the old dwarf Cephas, who was sent out
to discover the city almost a year ago, and he helps lead them much of
the way. They come to an ancient city, which is not the one they were
looking for, but Jorgan thinks it is. The mystics find a map that is
illuminated by their magic, and they continue on, eventually coming to
the dwarf road -a huge raging river that can take them the rest of their
journey. The hunting dragons come upon them just as they take the barge
into the river and under the mountain.
I was most impressed by
the description of the caverns along the dwarf "road". I could easily
visualize how majestic they were, the vastness of the open spaces, the
confines of the river as it passed waterfalls under the mountain.
Finally, the greatest piece was somewhere in the middle, where the north
and south directions pass one over the other along gigantic stone
sluiceways. At the point where they drop through the broken one on top,
I was really wondering how Cephas, who secretly admitted to Jorgan that
he had already been to the city, managed to get there without knowing about this
break. But he has a secret of his own, of course.
of Cephas is actually one of the old gods, who killed the dwarf and took
his place, wanting the chaos of this world to continue, not wanting
anybody to restore the spheres. It was he who
set the stage of the play in the dream world, where the three races were
able to meet, and not really comprehend what was going on. Presumably
the serpent in Thux's dream is also another of the old gods. Anji, the
waif of a girl who accompanied the minstrel who claimed to know about
the ancient cities, turns out to be another of the gods, who spirits
Cephas away so the humans can put the world back together. Caelith
discovers his own bronze sphere, and enters the dream to see how Thux
and Aislynn oriented theirs. Together, the three spheres work towards
restoring magic to the world (I think that's what happened, though I'm
not entirely sure -I'll have to wait for the next book to see the real
effect). With the sphere and the dragon staffs, Jorgan has a change of
heart, and he and Caelith bring the dragons under control.
human quest was made up many characters, who were more interesting than
most of the others in the other worlds. Margrave was fun, as he prattled
on and on about history, complete with embellishments. Caelith's friend
Lovich had the funniest lines, and also kept Caelith in line more
often than not, especially where his half-brother was concerned. Eryn
used to be Caelith's lover, before he somehow left her in the middle of
the night. She is the only one who makes an effort to like Jorgan, and
gets him to open up a little, making him realize that despite his hatred
for their magic and what they did to his world because of it, they can
still be likable, and have the same feelings and desires that he has.