Owlknight: A satisfactory ending to Darian’s Tale

Owlknight by Mercedes LackeyOwlknight by Mercedes Lackey fantasy audiobook reviewOwlknight by Mercedes Lackey

Owlknight (1999) is the final story in Mercedes Lackey’s DARIAN’S TALE. This trilogy is part of her huge VALDEMAR series, but it can stand alone just fine. However, don’t start here. The first book is Owlflight and the second is Owlsight. Expect a few spoilers for those books in this review.

As Owlknight begins, a couple of years after the events of the previous novel, all is going well for Darian and Keisha. Thanks to their actions, their people have befriended the barbarians who appeared to be a threat in the last book. Now a multi-cultural society thrives around Errold’s Grove and everyone prospers. The area has become so prominent in Valdemar that they will soon be given a Herald Mage.

Owlknight by Mercedes LackeyDarian and Keisha are lovers, and her mother is pressuring her to get married and have babies, but she is having a hard time committing to Darian. For some reason, she worries that Darian will expect her to give up her career as a healer and become a housewife. She has no evidence that this might happen and instead of sitting down and having a heart-to-heart with Darian, she broods about it.

As for Darian, now that things are settled down in the vale, and he’s a powerful mage, he suddenly has the urge to find out what happened to his parents ten years ago. To that end, he gathers a team and goes on a quest to see what he can discover.

Owlknight follows the same formula as so many of Lackey’s novels do. The first half is full of the routine daily life of the protagonists. There are multiple ceremonies with all of their accompanying dressing-up and feasting. Lackey loves ceremonies but, unfortunately, I don’t. They feel like filler and there are so many of them in this novel. So much dressing, so many descriptions of clothing and hairstyles, so much food…

I was bored up to the moment that Darian, seemingly out of nowhere, decides to hunt for his parents. Then, amazingly, clues arrive (deft foreshadowing is not Lackey’s strength). At this point, though, I realized that I wanted to know what happened to his parents, too, and I found myself desperately hoping he would find them alive and well. The rest of the story — the quest — is fairly exciting, though there were some parts of the plot that were too hard to believe. But, in the end, the second half of Owlknight makes a satisfying conclusion to Darian’s story and readers who’ve enjoyed this character will be pleased with the way Lackey completes it.

Tantor Audio’s new edition (October 31, 2017) narrated by Kevin T. Collins is a nice production that I can recommend. It’s 14.5 hours long but, due to Collins’ slow reading pace, I sped it up with my audiobook app.

Published in print in 1999 and in audio in October 2017. From fantasy legends Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon comes the third and final volume in a powerful saga charged with war and magic, life, and love…. Two years after his parents’ disappearance, Darian has sought refuge and training from the mysterious Hawkbrothers. Now he has opened his heart to a beautiful young healer. Finally Darian has found peace and acceptance in his life. That is, until he learns that his parents are still alive – and trapped behind enemy borders….

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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