I’m sure someone must have mentioned this before, but there is a giant power-sucking-vortex when you are dealing with sequels to an excellent story. The nicer the orginal story, the more your readers want a sequel, and the nicer the sequel, the more your readers want another one. Since there is something called the Law of Diminishing Returns, you can only write so many sequels before it starts to taste like dried orange. The rule therefore, if you are an author, is to plan your sequels and to write them well.
The Recluse series doesn’t have many true sequels. It is a large series, but they are more books set in the same universe than continuations of the same plot line. While it helps to read all interconnected books in a series to know everything about everybody, every book stands alone, and that’s pretty wonderful for new readers.
Well, what can I say about this book which is actually the 5th book in the Recluse series and the sequel to The Magic of Recluse? The Law of Diminishing Returns do apply ;-). Lerris returns, but this time as a mage with growing powers. He truly doesn’t understand his powers yet, but as it grows, it changes him in ways that he doesn’t expect. The Recluse series shows why it’s one of the better fantasy sagas out there in this book because it doesn’t repeat or rehash the material of the earlier book. Lerris is much different than what we found in the first book and though his modesty is grating after a while, he does have a few endearing qualities too. Krystal – his consort – is likable, so is Tamra, and so is Justen and Gunnar, and when you’ve read the earlier four books, all these make the story a cohesive unit that’s pretty impressive.
What’s not that impressive is the plot. While it’s fittingly gargantuan and epic, it also has so many ups and downs and twists and turns and confusing details everywhere that it becomes a tough read. The ending is worth it, and is not a let down, however the book is much more long winded than the first one, which is saying something. Recluse is not an easy series to read, and this book proves that too.
For people who like sequels however, this is a good story and one that should not be missed. I for one, liked it more than the first book.