Sunday, June 14, 2015

Hopefully not the end.

While Kelly McCullough's Darkened Blade doesn't have a preview of the next book at the end, I can onl;y hope this isn't where the series ends. I've grown quite attached to his characters, and this one is quite a finale any way it goes.

We start not long after the end of Drawn Blades, with Siri, Faran, Aral, and Kelos in the city of Wall. We open on Aral dreaming/ visionquesting and meeting with Namara in a bar crowded with those he's killed over the years. While the goddess may be dead, a piece of her lies in Aral, and encourages him to continue the path he's been walking since the end of Book 1. Which means, at last, it's time to confront the strange Risen who currently heads the Church of Shan. Well, at least moreso than the occasion where Aral snuck in and cut the Son's face.

Anyway, a possible alliance with members of the church army fall apart as an army of Risen attacks the place where the meeting happens. The army of Risen actually act as a motivational device to get everyone to Jax's school and then on to the fallen Temple of Namara where they finally find a way to bind Namara's infused swords to their wielders, something that hasn't been done since Namara herself invested them with the Blades.

And then we journey into the Celestial city for the final confrontation, which pretty much takes up the last third of the book.

Along the way, we see Aral get appointed  First Blade by Siri, the students of Jax become full fledged Blades, and meet a few legends of the world in which this is set.

We also see Aral's final transformations into Campbell's Hero of 1000 Faces. Ultimately, by the end, Aral Kingslayer struggles with his desire to do justice without the deaths of millions in the Civil Wars to follow the death of the Son and his desire to become more than the tool of his mentor in Kelos' mad plan to upset the apple cart and create a new world without corrupt nobles and royalty.

It's really a fine book, although it feels a bit like the last chapters of a D&D campaign, with no real transition between plot points.

I do hope he writes more in this series, given the rather.... brief ending, but then I'm still hoping for another WbMage book which will probably never happen.