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August Books 14) Southern Fire

14) Southern Fire, by Juliet McKenna

The first of the second series of fantasy novels by jemck, set in the same world as the first series but in a different part of it, among the lascivious island race visited briefly in a previous book. I said in a previous review that I would have liked to have heard more about these people; well, you should be careful what you wish for, because you may get it - I found the first third of the book awfully slow going as we learnt loads and loads about the Aldabreshin culture, a worthy attempt to create a fictional society which practices polygamy but where women are nonetheless pretty emancipated. Fortunately (and I have ephiriel to thank for encouraging me to keep going) it really picks up after a bit and I found it impossible to put down once I had reached roughly page 200, when our lead character puts his heritage aside and sets off on a quest for knowledge which may save the archipelago at the cost of his life (or his lands and family at the least). Also Juliet pulls off the impressive feat of describing the climactic showdown between good wizard and evil wizard twice - once in anticipation and the second time for real - and making it work both times.

So, I will keep the faith and get the next in the series. Nice astrolabe on the front cover.

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