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on 17 September 2005
Harshini is the final book in the first trilogy of Jennifer Fallon's The Hythrun Chronicles. And if that sounds confusing, that's because Tor has decided to put all six books into that series name, despite the fact that it's two different trilogies. In this book, a lot of the intricacies of the previous two books are undone and it's a lot more straightforward than either Medalon or Treason Keep. That can be a good thing, except that it loses a little bit of what makes Fallon's work so special. It's still a fitting conclusion, but things are wrapped up a bit too quickly and the characters are a bit flatter than normal.
Usually, I really like the way Fallon handles political intrigue, juggling so many balls that many authors would likely lose them all. In Harshini, she does a decent job, but I didn't get the same sense I have in her previous books, where R'Shiel and her companions have to constantly be moving in order to keep all of the balls in the air. Instead, this book almost has her do it in step-by-step fashion. She's solved one problem with Damin and Adrina's marriage, so she travels with them to Hytheria. There, Damin has his own problems, especially with having a Fardohnyan bride, so R'Shiel has to help him solve that problem. Then another roadblock gets in the way, and dealing with that one also helps her deal with a subsequent one. Then she has to go back to Medalon for the final showdown. It's almost fantasy politics by rote, and it got a little boring. Thankfully, Fallon's skill with characterization made sure that it didn't get too dull.
R'Shiel is still done very well, though she became a bit more wooden in this book than she has in the past. The only time I was able to get deep into her character was when Brak, another half-Harshini man, showed her the true meaning of being Harshini. The wonder that was on her face and in her eyes was fabulous, and Fallon described it very well. However, the rest of the book she's like a bull in a china shop, demanding that various gods help her in certain ways, being reprimanded even as the gods sullenly do as she asks; always promising that there will be a reckoning, but there never seems to be. One might say that her final heartbreak would be punishment enough, but that was already coming even before she annoyed a number of the gods, so it can't really be considered her comeuppance.
While Tarja is much the same way, more two-dimensional than I'm used to from Fallon, she really excels at characterizing Damin and Adrina. Their relationship is a joy to watch, as both of them have walls around themselves so high that they don't trust the other one, even when it's obvious to everybody around them that they love each other. Damin is a wonderful combination of sarcasm and intelligence, with the sarcasm hiding a deep devotion to Hytheria and to the people he loves. Adrina is, at times, too much of a spoiled brat, but it was how she was raised. Other characters aren't as strong, with Adrina's father coming off the worst. He's stereotypically greedy and wimpy when R'Shiel demonstrates her full power to him, and he just doesn't come off the page very well. I found him annoying every time I saw him, which makes it nice that it wasn't very often.
The major problem with Harshini, however, is the dropped plot threads that just scream for better treatment. The book is short by today's fantasy standards, and I think it could have used a few more pages to handle some of these, or at least Fallon could have re-worked things to actually resolve them better. The first is Loclon (who I also complained about in Treason Keep), whose storyline just withers on the vine until it's resolved in an almost perfunctory fashion at the very end. He hates R'Shiel for what she did to him, and she hates him for what he did to her in captivity. They spend a lot of time talking about having to find him in the Citadel and not letting him escape during the siege, but then he simply disappears. He then turns up again for a brief appearance so that Fallon can end his storyline. The other plot thread that goes nowhere is what happens to little Mikel. After what he's coerced into attempting to do, he's cast off without a second thought. At least his story does end in a fairly believable fashion, but it's not very interesting. Sure, it manages to throw some more conflict between Damin and Adrina, but that doesn't really go anywhere either, making this storyline seem even worse.
Ultimately, though, Harshini is an enjoyable climax to the series, and I'm looking forward to the next one (a prequel). While it's not as good as the first two books, it's not a complete dud. I just wish Fallon would have done a few things differently.
David Roy
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on 30 December 2015
I raced through the Demon Child trilogy and this was a good ending to it. But the ebook conversion was very badly done. They forgot the map! I had already seen the map in the previous two books but I don't know how you are supposed to follow the movements of the armies without one. Not knowing where the Hythrun provinces were was quite annoying.
The cover art of the ebook is cheap and hideous looking. They should have just stuck with the paperback cover picture. All of the ebooks in the trilogy seem to suffer childish and unpleasant looking covers.
Also, there is no chapter structure in the ebook, so you can't navigate around the book or jump to chapters. Not essential in a novel but still very shoddy.
The final problem with the ebook is that little care was taken with the newlines during dialogue. Sometimes you have to go back over the conversations to work out who said what, as it is confused by missing newlines.
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VINE VOICEon 25 January 2009
I enjoyed this series of books and just wanted to see how the story continued after the end of this book
I had read the second Hythrun trilogy first so in actual fact although this was written first it actually continues the story from the 2nd trilogy - so it makes much more sensible to read it this way because all the characters are known and the action is easier to follow. The story is basically how to kill a god (!) and there is an element of Terry Pratchetts 'Lesser Gods story about it in that if you remove the people who believe in a god they (the god) disappear - probably best to leave it there (don;t want to spoil it for you) But what makes the books is the characters - Damin , Adrina and the Demon Child and you really get sucked into the story - I've read all three in just under three weeks because its one you want to dive into ..
There are some some very nasty characters as well , Hablet who sells his daughter for a treaty and a mother that seems devoid of all feeling
The action is sweeping across all three novels and sometimes you think that a promising action is cut short - but then I guess it would be over 6 books not three (hey, perhaps a Directors cut? )
In short a great read and I can recommedn it (and not just to fantasy novel fans)
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on 13 April 2016
What a read,moves along at a fair lick,keeping you interested all the time,things going on here,there,,dragons,magic ,great battles and love
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on 10 January 2014
A superb end to this trilogy though I recommend that the WolfBlade trilogy is read before this book. Stupid rules again!
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on 7 January 2016
I enjoy Jennifer Fallon's books
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