Days of Blood and Fire: Disappointed

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsepic fantasy book reviews Katharine Kerr Deverry A Time of ExileDays of Blood and Fire (US) or A Time of War (UK) by Katharine Kerr

A Time of War (Days of Blood and Fire in the US) is the third book in the secondfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsDeverry quartet. Here all the action takes place in the present — we meet the Rhiddaer folk and the Gel Da’Thae (in the form of Jahdo and Meer) who quest to Deverry in search of Meer’s brother. When they find him, they discover he is part of a major plot dreamt up by Alshandra in order to regain her daughter. At the same time Jill charges Rhodry to find the only weapon that will help the Deverrians in their war against the Horsekin and Alshandra’s evil followers.

I was disappointed in A Time of War — I feel as though Kerr has lost her way a little. One of the high points of her first quartet is the fact that the storyline flits back and forth in time, deepening your affection for various characters in the different lives they have lived. Here, when she moves to a more linear storyline, I find myself less entranced.

Part of the problem is that I’m finding it hard now to care about any of the characters. In a previous review, I noted that Jill is far less likeable as a dweomermaster than as a silver dagger. The last character that I held deep regard for was Rhodry and in A Time of War he seemed to descend into a unique kind of madness. He speaks often of courting his Lady Death and Kerr overuses the beserker howl of laughter that had, up to now, been used effectively to build Rhodry’s character.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsI already didn’t care for either Evandar or Dallandra, and here they crop up time and again in a very tedious storyline about Dallandra being kidnapped by Evandar’s brother. All the time spent in Evandar’s dreamlike homeland is slow and plodding and doesn’t seem to advance the plot at all.

I would also like to complain that there were a number of scenes where Jill did etheric scrying, or changed into her falcon, which seemed lifted in their entirety from earlier books. There are only so many times I can read that without becoming bored.

I did like a number of aspects of A Time of War. These included the touching scenes between Jill and Rhodry as they reached out in friendship and found a sort of reconciliation. Also, Kerr is extremely able at drawing distinctions between each of the different locations — in previous books Bardek has been richly imagined; here we delve more into the homeland of the dwarves, which is given a very different feel. Her world-building is on a more cosy scale than, say, the GRRM’s of the world, but very effective nonetheless.

Despite the fact that the idea of a dragon is brought into the story in an abrupt manner (barring one brief paragraph two books ago), the introduction of Arzosah adds at least half a star to my rating. If you are as fond of decently-written dragon characters as I am, you will love Arzosah, who is both beautiful and slyly clever. The dialogue between her and Rhodry lends real vigour to the last part of A Time of War.

This is a real lapse in form compared to the previous books, but I have high hopes of the last book in this quartet — a number of plot points should be resolved satisfactorily.

Deverry — (1986-2009) Publisher: Even as a young girl,  Jill was a favorite of the magical, mysterious  Wildfolk, who appeared to her from their invisible  realm. Little did she know her extraordinary  friends represented but a glimpse of a forgotten past  and a fateful future. Four hundred years-and many  lifetimes-ago, one selfish young lord caused the  death of two innocent lovers. Then and there he  vowed never to rest until he’d rightened that  wrong — and laid the foundation for the lives of Jill  and all those whom she would hold dear: her  father, the mercenary soldier Cullyn; the exiled  berserker Rhodry Maelwaedd; and the ancient and  powerful herbman Nevyn, all bound in a struggle against  darkness… and a quest to fulfill the  destinies determined centuries ago. Here in this newly  revised edition comes the incredible novel that  began one of the best-loved fantasy seers in recent  years — a tale of bold adventure and timeless  love, perilous battle and pure magic.

Act one: Deverry — In the UK, the third book is Dawnspell: The Bristling Wood, and the fourth book is Dragonspell: The Southern Sea.

Katharine Kerr Deverry Daggerspell, Darkspell, The Bristling Wood, The Dragon RevenantKatharine Kerr Deverry Daggerspell, Darkspell, The Bristling Wood, The Dragon RevenantKatharine Kerr Deverry Daggerspell, Darkspell, The Bristling Wood, The Dragon RevenantKatharine Kerr Deverry Daggerspell, Darkspell, The Bristling Wood, The Dragon Revenant

Act two: The Westlands — in the UK, the third book is A Time of War and the fourth book is A Time of Justice.

Deverry Katherine Kerr The Westlands: A Time of Exile, A Time of Omens, Days of Blood and Fire, Days of Air and DarknessDeverry Katherine Kerr The Westlands: A Time of Exile, A Time of Omens, Days of Blood and Fire, Days of Air and DarknessDeverry Katherine Kerr The Westlands: A Time of Exile, A Time of Omens, Days of Blood and Fire, Days of Air and DarknessDeverry Katherine Kerr The Westlands: A Time of Exile, A Time of Omens, Days of Blood and Fire, Days of Air and Darkness

Act three: The Dragon Mage

Katharine Kerr Deverry Dragon Mage: The Red Wyvern, The Black Raven, The Fire DragonKatharine Kerr Deverry Dragon Mage: The Red Wyvern, The Black Raven, The Fire DragonKatharine Kerr Deverry Dragon Mage: The Red Wyvern, The Black Raven, The Fire Dragon

Act four: The Silver Wyrm — in the UK, these are continuations of Act Three: The Dragon Mage.

Katharine Kerr Deverry The Silver Wyrm: 1. The Gold Falcon 2. The Spirit Stone 3. The Shadow Isle 4. The Silver MageKatharine Kerr Deverry The Silver Wyrm: 1. The Gold Falcon 2. The Spirit Stone 3. The Shadow Isle 4. The Silver MageKatharine Kerr Deverry The Silver Wyrm: 1. The Gold Falcon 2. The Spirit Stone 3. The Shadow Isle 4. The Silver MageKatharine Kerr Deverry The Silver Wyrm: 1. The Gold Falcon 2. The Spirit Stone 3. The Shadow Isle 4. The Silver Mage


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AMANDA RUTTER, one of our guest reviewers, used to be an accountant in the UK but she escaped the world of numbers and is now living in a fantasy world she creates. She runs Angry Robot's YA imprint, Strange Chemistry. And we knew her when....

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