Pleasing on the eye but no real depth,
This review is from: Emissary: Percheron Book Two (Percheron Series) (Paperback)
I probably should have reviewed "Odalisque" as the opener of the trilogy but one cannot have everything when finishing one book and moving straight onto the next with a quick pause to refill the coffee mug...
What I like about McIntosh is the author's decision to restrict both scene and character numbers. It's almost Agatha Christie in the relationship shifts that have to be puzzled out. The entertaining edge is not created by quick-fix shock value rather - though we do have a fair few barbaric methods of dealing out death in a society that is painfully carefree with its value of human life - through the development of ever-shifting politics within the world of Percheron's harem.
So, to the plot. With Lazar back from the dead as Lucien, Crown Prince of Galinsea, and (Ly)Ana stubbornly refusing to toe the line Herezah and Salmeo have decreed we rush anxiously as Boaz moves to become the Zar we know he can be. Meanwhile, the demon Maliz is conspiring and conjecturing in his role as Grand Vizier Tariq. McIntosh has decided on an early dénouement, throwing all the antagonistically-vying characters into one place. She achieves this with Ana's ill-fated and gullible attempt to escape impending nuptials resulting in her ceremonious dumping in a silken bag at the bottom of the river. Literally saved by the kiss of life by her Prince (note that Kett doesn't quite qualify for the same kiss) her fortunes reverse with breathtaking speed and she becomes both Boaz's wife and Percherese emissary in a few scant hours. All of which means that Pez, Lazar (Lucien), Tariq, Ana, and Herezah find themselves heading towards Galinsea to prove that Percheron hadn't executed its Crown Prince in "Odalisque". This unfortunate trip is put together by page 300 and finds the reader rubbing their hands in glee as the tensions can only get ever tauter. The ill-fated love of Ana and Lucien, the demonic Tariq who seeks to destroy the Goddess Lyana, the Iridor/court clown Pez, the embittered Valide - all together scheming and not trusting.
A Fellowship of the Ring this is not.
Once everyone has got used to the new order of things in the "Empty" desert, Lazar and Ana finally succumb to the passion they've denied for so long. In the nick of time really, as their caravan is raided, everyone killed bar the necessary characters and Ana is kidnapped by the mysterious and despotic Arafanz leaving Lazar to haul Herezah and Tariq back to Boaz with their Galinsea delegation wrecked.
I do like this trilogy. It's attention-keeping (rather than "grabbing") and most of the time is spent with the characters trying to score points off each other, vying for power. If you're after a fantasy series that thoroughly explores relationships, the action is token fantasy video violence and the plot simplistic then McIntosh (in this trilogy) is for you. It's never going to stretch the grey cells into a anything more than a canter but it's a relaxing read after a long day which is no bad thing.
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Initial post: 23 Jul 2012 11:38:42 BDT
[[ASIN:B004N62CR6 Emissary: Percheron Book Two (Percheron Series) I was going to buy this (and I still might) but my pleasure in the book has been seriously diminished by a review which gives a synopsis of the plot. A view is not the same thing as a synopsis! Please learn the difference!
In reply to an earlier post on 23 Jul 2012 12:06:42 BDT
I am disappointed you feel my review has potentially diminished your pleasure in reading this. However, I will suggest you do read it and I believe you will find at the end of the novel that what I have written above doesn't actually give away much of the narrative at all. I touch on a couple of key moments in order to highlight what the author is trying to achieve and ensure that I do not mention several major themes and plots which you will discover on reading it. My review was attempting to show that what makes this novel good is not the timeline of events but the author's skills at characterisation. I believe it is in the character drawing skills of McIntosh that readers will find the greatest pleasure.
If, however, after you complete the novel you find your enjoyment remains diminished then I offer my sincere apologies.
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