Cadmian’s Choice: A long middle book

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsCadmian’s Choice: A long middle book epic fantasy book reviewsCadmian’s Choice by L.E. Modesitt Jr

Cadmian’s Choice is the fifth book in L.E. Modesitt Jr’s COREAN CHRONICLES and the second in the trilogy about Mykel and Dainyl. You don’t need to read the first trilogy in the COREAN CHRONICLES (Legacies, Darknesses, Scepters) before reading this one. In fact, I think it makes more sense to read this trilogy first since it focuses on events that occur generations before Legacies. However, you do need to read Alector’s Choice before starting Cadmian’s Choice.

In Alector’s Choice we met Mykel, a “lander” who lives on the planet Corus. He, like most of Modesitt’s protagonists, is ultra-honorable and ultra-competent, and he has risen remarkably fast in the Cadmian military ranks and now commands others. He also has some “talent” (a form of magic) which he hides from others because landers who are talented are killed by the Alectors who rule Corus. Modesitt’s second protagonist is Dainyl, an Alector who, like Mykel, is ultra-honorable and ultra-competent and has also been rising in his ranks. Like all Alectors, Dainyl has talent, but he has much more of it than he lets on.

Mykel and Dainyl, mostly acting separately and only rarely meeting each other, continue to fight evil in Corus. Mykel and his troops take care of outlaws and strange new vicious animal species while Dainyl tries to uncover the plots of scheming Alectors. Both have become aware that an old race called “The Ancients” did not die out on Corus as previously thought. Beings called “Soarers” have approached the men and exhorted them to “change” so that they can save Corus from disaster.

The best part of this series is the interesting world-building. The Alectors are not quite human. They survive on the “life force” of the planets they occupy, moving to new planets as they drain the previous one. The Alectors on Corus are supposed to be preparing the planet for others of their race, but they are in competition with another potential planet. The story’s tension arises from this power struggle and also the concern (on the reader’s part) of what will happen to the humans who are already on Corus and oblivious to these imminent events.

The Corean Chronicles by L.E. Modesitt JrUnfortunately, the story suffers from being too long and repetitive and, frankly, boring at times. At the beginning of Cadmian’s Choice, Dainyl travels around the world attending a long string of dull meetings with fellow administrators as he gathers information. To provide a little action, he is occasionally attacked as he teleports from city to city. About a fifth of the way through the book, Dainyl sums up everything he has learned so far. If I had known a summary was coming, I would have skipped everything that came before. I did later find myself occasionally jumping 10 seconds ahead using my Audible app when things were getting repetitive. For example, many mornings we see Mykel eat breakfast and he comments on how well the egg toast is cooked. Pretty soon I learned that every time Mykel sits down to breakfast, I can skip ahead 10 seconds.

There are other little repetitive quirks that begin to irritate. For example, Modesitt continues to tell us what other characters think of our protagonists by having Mykel and Dainyl overhearing them murmuring behind their backs. I could give a few more examples of this kind of repetition of structure, style, and even specific phrases, but I won’t.

Tantor Audio’s production of Cadmian’s Choice is narrated by Kyle McCarley. He does a great job with pace and cadence but, as I’ve mentioned before, some of his voices are a little bit grating. He tries to give each character a unique voice, so a few of them are thickly accented or just bizarre. Some of the women, especially, have unattractive voices. It’s not annoying enough for me to warn you away from the audiobook if you’re a fan of this series, though. It’s a good performance, but not a great one. The audiobook is 24 hours long which, as I’ve already said, is too long for this story.


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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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2 comments

  1. I had a “bad flashback” moment as you described Dainyl traveling around the world to attend boring meetings with other administrators.

    And this is just me, but “Dainyl” reads like a name for some kind of scratch-resistant counter-top material.

    • haha, I have not mentioned it yet, but the names for the women in this series are horrendous. I was thinking about mentioning that in my review of the last book, which I recently finished.

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