Narrator: Marguerite Gavin
Series: Truth #3
Published by Ace Books on November 25th 2003
Genres: Historical Fantasy, Epic Fantasy
When a shapeshifting student is transported back four centuries, she is in danger of being permanently changed into her dragon form, with no memory of her human life - or love.
Apt and eager Alissa is the only student of the last surviving master of magic. She easily shifts from human to raku, or beast counterpart, and has learned many advanced magics on her own. One afternoon, a tiny miscalculation sends her back in time 400 years within the Hold in which she lives. Now it is peopled by names and faces from stories the master has told of his and the Hold's history. As Alissa and a new, young teacher search for how to send her back, another problem arises: the primal living force behind her raku form is surfacing more often and without summoning. It is just a matter of time before Alissa will be overcome. Her transformation to raku will be permanent. It will be as if she had never existed.
As this is a quartet of books that I listened to back-to-back, I’m keeping my reviews in a format designed to highlight developments in each of four categories: plot, pacing, world, and characters. In each of these categories, I’ll only be discussing what’s relevant to that specific book, so as to keep these from being too redundant.
This is absolutely by-far my favorite book in the series (I say this having read the final installment). We’re introducing some time-travel (yay!) that had been alluded to in the previous book. I love time travel, so no surprise that I was rather more endeared to this book than to the others. But more importantly, there’s a TON of information and plot development evident in this one. I like how each book so far has had its own distinct conflict to resolve, but it still feels very much like one piece of a larger narrative. The main conflict here? How on earth is Alissa going to get back to her own time?
This book felt more streamlined to me than the previous installments. We’re definitely to a point in the overall macro-story where movement is becoming more critical from a plot-development perspective, and we’re (mostly) done learning about the basics of how the world works. There are a lot more moving pieces in this book than in the previous two, and it feels like everything is starting to come to a head (particularly in the love triangle bit).
With the inner-workings of magic already well-established in the previous two books, now we’re starting to stretch (break?) the rules. It’s become a rather critical bit of information that Alissa can do things that shouldn’t have ever been thought possible. And no one can figure out why.
On top of that, this view of the past gives us even better context for the “current day” set-up, and I loved getting a glimpse at what the city was like before it was “destroyed.” Tie that in with the fact that we heard the story of this city in a seemingly fictional tale fairly early in the first book, and you’ve got plenty of strings linking pieces together in a way that I absolutely adore.
Finally! We get to interact with more than the staple three or four characters of the previous couple of books. I’ve completely fallen for the third branch of the love triangle. But I’m still in love with Alissa and Strell. And … well, this is probably one of the first love triangles where I’d be happy and sad at whatever decision gets made. Which is the way love triangles are supposed to be. My one complaint is that for Lodesh, it’s practically love at first sight — this seems to be because she already knew his future self well enough to completely ignore his charms, but I get the distinct sense that it’s more than just that.
I absolutely love getting to know Redal-Stan (the Master who taught Useless) and Connen-Neute (a young Master-in-training) — they’re not only awesome characters, but they’re so well developed that I kind of want to continue following their lives (or at least Redal-Stan’s) after Alissa returns to the future. It would make one hell of a spin-off series!