Lady-Protector: A little better than the predecessor

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsLady-Protector by L.E. Modesitt Jr epic fantasy audiobook reviewsLady-Protector by L.E. Modesitt Jr

Lady-Protector is the last (so far) book in L.E. Modesitt’s COREAN CHRONICLES and a direct sequel to The Lord-Protector’s Daughter. You can read this duology without having read the first six COREAN CHRONICLES books, but you do need to read The Lord-Protector’s Daughter before picking up Lady-Protector. This review will necessarily spoil some of the plot for that earlier novel.

In The Lord-Protector’s Daughter, Mykella (the titular character) discovered that her father’s brother was stealing money from the treasury and planning a coup. Thanks to the magical powers that Mykella recently acquired, she was able to kill him and her scheming cousin just before her uncle was invested as the new Lord-Protector after he murdered Mykella’s father and brother. Then Mykella named herself Lady-Protector. As the book opens, the ceremony has just ended and the country is in a bit of an uproar. Mykella must act quickly to squash any more rebellion.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsThe job of Lady-Protector turns out to be more difficult than she imagined. She has inherited a government that is inefficient and corrupt, and a treasury that is nearly empty. It’s her job to appoint new officials, to fill the treasury, and to fix everything that the previous administration (her father and uncle) messed up. Meanwhile she must deal with her country’s patriarchal attitudes, a possible coup attempt, and the threat of foreign invasions, one of which may be from off-planet. In short, she has her hands full and she has no idea who she can trust. The only people who are definitely solid are her sisters and the man who she appointed the captain of the military… the man who she may be falling in love with.

I complained that the previous book, The Lord-Protector’s Daughter, was repetitive and boring. This one is better, but not much. Not enough for me to recommend this duology, or even the entire COREAN CHRONICLES. Again, Mykella has the same routine every day, much of it the same as in the previous book, though this time she has a lot of meetings with potential ministry officials and other men who are leaders of her people. She also spends a lot of time looking at sewers, thinking about sewers, sniffing sewers, and asking for sewers to be fixed. And the highways, rivers, forests, towpaths, and jails. She reads petitions, drafts letters, studies ledgers, and spouts wisdom wherever she goes. As in the last book, she spies on her enemies daily and learns what people think about her by hearing people murmur behind her back (this technique is used by the protagonists in every single one of the COREAN CHRONICLES books).

The Corean Chronicles by L.E. Modesitt JrMost of Mykella’s life as Lady-Protector is exceedingly dull, but there are some bright spots such as attacks from weird creatures using the magic Tables, an enemy invasion, a deadly battle, and an assassination attempt. There’s also a bit of romance, some sweet sisterly bonding, a tragic death, and a bittersweet ending.

Lady-Protector and its predecessor are best for readers who enjoy a slow pace with lots of ritual and repetition, and a Mary-Sue-type protagonist who’s strong and competent and able to dominate men because of the magic she holds.

Tantor Audio’s version of Lady-Protector is 20 hours long and is read by Kyle McCarley. I would have preferred a female narrator, but McCarley does a fine job. I can recommend the audio version to readers who want to try this series.


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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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