This review is from: Sky of Swords:: A Tale of the King's Blades (Mass Market Paperback)
Sky of Swords is the tale of Princess Malinda, Ambrose IV's daughter. After her father is killed by the king of Baelmark, she is left in a Chivial spiralling into a realm of deception, treachery, anger and confusion. The fight for the throne of Chivial is a bitter one and it is not just Malinda who is endangered - the King's Blades, with whom she develops a close bond, are also at risk of becoming history.
I thought this was a worthy conclusion to the plots of the previous two books. Other reviewers didn't like the way the contradictions were solved but I have to say I thought it was very good. Clever and not an easy way out - I found it quite tragic because of the implications it had. The character of Malinda is totally believable, sympathetic but flawed and all her mistakes, the misfortunes she has, are things you can imagine yourself doing or getting caught up in as you read. The other characters are great too and especially Malinda's relationships with her Blades. What this book has on the last two is a genuinely good love story, too. Durendal and Kate was good but it never reached the emotional depths as Malinda's affair with Sir Dog.
This book is not for people who love endless action and maybe because of that it will annoy some people. However it is in my opinion a serious page-turner. The action is political. It is intrigue and mystery and underhand actions and that makes it very, very interesting.
Dave Duncan's strength as a writer is his fantastic, detailed plots and he pulls them all together here in style. It's nice to see that both Durendal and Radgar have a lot of relevance in Sky of Swords and in the end we can see that all three of their stories are endlessly linked.
I think Duncan is a master storyteller but he is also a master at creating brilliant characters and as I've said, Malinda is one of them. Excellent as well are Dog, Courtney, good ol' Ambrose (you know you'd miss him if he wasn't in it a bit!) and lots of others.
Anyway all I can say is that this book is highly recommended, but don't read it unless you've read the first two (i.e. The Gilded Chain and Lord of the Fire Lands) because although technically all are standalone novels, I think you will get a lot more out of all three by reading them in succession.