Katherine Kerr


Dawnspell: The Bristling Wood

(Volume 3, Deverry Series)


Still nothing wrong, although Iím not relishing it as much. While the structure is still enjoyable, particularly where you see the threads of past and future, an epic series only works for me if it is steadily building to a stunning climax (as in the slowest of burns in Dumasí fabulous Count of Monte Cristo), or if it meanders a bit but each episode is good enough to stand alone (hard to think of any that keep up this standard Ė perhaps Saberhagenís Swords series, although at times there isnít really a uniting plot over some of the episodes, they just happen to be inhabiting the same world) Ė or if it manages to do both (which is why thereís still daylight between Tolkien and everyone else).


Thereís some fairly tenuous things going on here as Kerr pushes Rhodry off to Bardek. Sure, it could be an interesting change of scene, but I found it a bit hard to swallow that a couple of bribes and lucky conversations managed to overcome the efforts of the entire kingdom of Deverry, backed up by close friends, the good wife, and various and sundry dweomer masters. The sub-plot around Jillís tragic seduction/ensorcelment was the only part of the book that made me forget I was reading for a while, and while potent in itself, not enough to bring me to recommend this volume except as part of the series. Maybe I need to leave it a year or two before I pick up Volume 4 (like I do with Rowling and Pratchett to maximise pleasure), which is a shame because clearly the intent is to lock me in. Hey, I want to be locked in, but this is a low security facility with day release (yes, I freely admit that this is an appalling metaphor).


May 2005