Narrator: Marguerite Gavin
Series: Truth #2
Published by Ace Books on November 26th 2002
Genres: Epic Fantasy, Historical Fantasy
Second in the extraordinary series featuring Alissa, a young woman seduced by the power of magic - in a brand new package.
Alissa never believed in magic. But then she went to the Hold, a legendary fortress where human Keepers once learned magic from enigmatic Masters. Under the tutelage of the last surviving Master, Alissa discovered that she had inherited, her father's magical ability.
But the Hold, is ruled by Bailic, the renegade Keeper who seized the First Truth, a book of magic he will use to harness the might of the city of the dead and wreak a war of total devastation. The book has thwarted Bailic's every attempt to access it, while it continually calls to Alissa--who must summon all her will to resist it. For, if she gives in to the First Truth's ultimate power and knowledge, she will be utterly changed--and the man she loves could be lost to her forever...
This book was originally read and reviewed in April 2016.
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.
I was simultaneously more and less intrigued by the plot of this book than the previous one. It’s clear that the First Truth is something really important — that was evident in the first installment. This book is focused around learning why it’s so important, but mostly consists of character & world development more than major plot development. The end packs one hell of a punch on the plot-front, but the development is relatively slow.
So I kind of already touched on this … This book still feels like it’s moving, in general. Whereas in the previous book Bailic was busy trying to figure out who the Keeper (person who can actually do magic) was, in this book he thinks he already knows, and is much less of a bother. The movement here comes in trying to keep up the ruse, with Strell pretending to be learning and Alissa actually learning. There’s also a sense of suspense driven by trying to figure out what Useless is obviously not telling Alissa — it’s not exactly a surprise or difficult to guess, but it certainly does build up some tension.
We learn a LOT more about how magic works in this world through Alissa’s lessons with Useless, a Master of the Hold (his name isn’t really Useless, but that’s what Alissa somewhat affectionately calls him). We learn about fields and tracings, and the whole magic thing really does take shape as something that makes sense — something that I love to see in fantasy novels. It isn’t left completely ambiguous for us to figure it out on our own. Likewise, it’s not revealed to us as readers as if it’s something important — it’s a rather natural revelation.
Strell and Alissa are entertaining (and somewhat adorable) as usual, but now we’re introducing another male and forming a bit of a love triangle — one that ought to prove interesting to follow. I don’t want to reveal too much more than that. Suffice to say that I love how the relationship is developing, and it’s been entertaining to get some of Strell’s perspective (that Alissa is completely oblivious to) regarding this newcomer.