Katherine Kerr

 

Darkspell

(Volume 2, Deverry Series)

 

Still some nice things running in this series. Kerr’s reincarnation structure gives her the freedom to run off into ‘new’ self-contained stories within the one larger story: they still relate to (particularly with the continuity of Nevyn) and shape ‘current’ events, but give the satisfaction of some internal resolution. Half this volume is devoted to a virtual novella set three-hundred years prior, and Kerr has the fun of yet again playing out her basic characters with a few intriguing alternatives – very much the parallel universe feel. I found the Gweniver-Dannyn-Ricyn incarnation more potent than the attached ‘main’ storyline, which was OK, sort of a drug-dealer whodunit, but not as enjoyable. Besides, I always hate it when charismatic heroes go broody, and hopefully Rhodry will be able to make his peace with his lowered status and make better company in the next book.

 

I didn’t enjoy it as much as Daggerspell, but she’s hardly dropped the ball here, and the form she’s running with is still coherent and satisfying. Some things are potentially worrying – getting the balance right so Nevyn doesn’t find everything too easy (cf. Belgareth), but can still bring justice and some impressive majesty (cf. Gandalf): it is nice that she doesn’t have him being too coy about his powers if need be. I think she overuses the flashes of ‘dweomer-cold’ that so many characters inexplicably have: sure you can have magic, but it’s not as satisfying if it can just be inserted randomly – it should cost something and work within its own suspension of disbelief parameters/logic – in other ways it does in this series.

 

2nd Reading – April 2005

1st in mid 90s