An accomplished and highly literate fantasy writer, Paula Volsky is, surprisingly, comparatively little known in the UK. 'The Sorcerer's Curse' is not as good as the first book in this trilogy, but better than the second. I still think 'The Luck of Relian Kru' is a masterpiece, though written in a much more light-hearted style than any of her other works. When I first read it I many years ago I had not heard of Paula Volsy (no net to look her up on in those days) and I wondered whether Volsky was a pseudonym for Jack Vance, the style is so similar to many of his earlier fantasies.
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An Adequate Wrap-Up17 Jan. 2000
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Although I was hoping that the conclusive novel to "The Sorcerer's Lady" and "The Sorcerer's Heir" would prove to be equal to the first novel, I was moderately disappointed in this regard. "The Sorcerer's Curse" takes place several generations after the events of "The Sorcerer's Lady" and "The Sorcerer's Heir," following the quest of the Duke's daughter, the descendant of Lady Verran and her second husband, his servant, and a savant from the house of Lady Verran's childhood love. The story also follows the Vardrul descendant of Lady Verran and Terrs fal Ghrizni's son, who in "The Sorcerer's Heir" had managed to transform himself into a convincing semblance of a Vardrul. Their mission: to arrest the fal Ghrizni's dying "Curse of Darkness" which is spreading over the continent and suffocating the humanoid inhabitants. The plot, while inclusive of the major plot elements of the first two novels, unfortunately revolves around a quest - a plot form in which Ms. Volsky does not excel (see "The Curse of the Witch-Queen" for an example of her initial quasi-quest literature). While the quest does allow Ms. Volsky to make mention of the Turos, the Strellians, and the Szarians - cast members from her previous novels - it also acts as an all-too-obvious ploy to wrap up the two-fronted thread from her other novels. No theme is greatly explored (until the question of kinship is flittingly mentioned at the end), no relationships forged, no link beyond plot made between this and the other two books. The pace does go quickly, which is a blessing, but otherwise the book lacks complexity. Those who want to know how the curse is thwarted and/or those who must own every book Ms. Volsky has written would do well to invest in "The Sorcerer's Curse." However, as has been mentioned before, "The Sorcerer's Lady" stands very well by itself - a brief epilogue would have been all that was required to tell whether fal Ghrizni's curse was ever effected.