Sunday, September 07, 2008


By Katherine Kerr. Found via Kate Elliot, called it Kerr's "fabulous Deverry series."

Of course, I've only read the first book, so that's all I can talk about. (Right?)

This strikes me as a trashy sword-and-sorcery page-turner.

The sword-and-sorcery part should be obvious: there are swords and there's sorcery.

The trashy? For one thing, the story centers around a group of characters who are being repeatedly reincarnated and brought together to remedy the wrongs they've done to each other in past lives. (Supposedly, everyone is reincarnated, but the vast majority of people who must exist to support these central characters in their quests are mostly invisible as far as the story goes.) For another, the sorcery is of the sort that makes me more suspicious of the "good" guys than the bad ones (I had a similar reaction to Melanie Rawn's book Exiles, and never read the second in that trilogy). For a third, there is a not insignificant emphasis on lust (Kerr uses the word many times) and incest, even imaginary incest. While this isn't an automatic negative, I dislike the way she handles it.

The dialog is often either wooden or incredible, in the sense of being too corny to believe.

But for some reason, I kept reading. Some of her characters (well, Cullyn and Jill) are decent enough that I wanted to find out what happened to them. Sadly, others (including ones she tried to portray as decent) are less sympathetic. They are also, arguably, so different between reincarnations that you can see this as the author punishing the sons for the sins of the fathers: they often seem to be fundamentally different, with only one or two traits in common with their past selves. In fact, while reading, I toyed with the idea of interpreting it as Nevyn being deluded and looking to redeem his past mistakes with people who had nothing to do with them, but this is not the obvious interpretation.

So: recommended? Not really. Despite the pageturner factor, there are so many other good books to read that I don't think this one is worth the trash. It also worries me that it's the first book in a fifteen book series, although I believe not all the books directly concern these characters.

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