The Necromancer Chronicles (vol. 1 & 2)

   
Once more, I have to thank my colleague from Paris-Dauphine for introducing to a new fantasy series. I found those two volumes by Amanda Downum in my mailbox a few weeks ago and set them aside for later reading (as I was not very impressed by the covers…) Then, one evening, I started reading the first volume, The Drowning City, on the way home, in a particularly crowded metro train. This did not make me miss my train stop, but I realised I had better change my a prioris about the novel! I read The Drowning City within a week and, while there were dead ends and imperfections, I like the very refreshing style of the novel, the mix of cultures, the complexity of the characters, whose feelings and attitudes were definitely not of the binary type. While I was somehow disappointed by the finale of The Drowning City, as it called to an alien deus ex machina that the rest of the story had not announced, and while I found the main character, Isyllt Iskaldur (what a terrific find for a name!), was getting away from failure a wee too easily, I was sufficiently hooked to move to the second volume, The Bone Palace, immediately. To my surprise (given my prior on second volumes in trilogies), I ended up liking it even better, the style and story-telling being more mature and better constructed than in the first volume. The story once again features Isyllt Iskaldur, with the same background as in The Drowning City, but it also introduces several major characters, most of them female, on both the “good” and the “bad” sides, which are equally deep, even though not all of them survive the 480 pages of the book! The description of the society where the action takes place is quite convincing, if a wee too modern for medieval fantasy, the magical sides of the story are well-designed and mostly subtle (except for the über-evil all-powerful sorceress central to this volume), once again the feelings and connections between characters are deep and complex and engaging (if definitely unusual for some central characters), and The Bone Palace overall makes for a great (adult) read! Even on a stand-alone basis.

One Response to “The Necromancer Chronicles (vol. 1 & 2)”

  1. Dan Simpson Says:

    This sounds good. But I just realised that the last WoT novel comes out on the 8th, so that’s gotta take priority… I need this to end! (If BS/RJ pull a swift one and add a To Be Continued to the end of AMOL, I may cry)

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