The Skull Throne (2000)
The Skull Throne (2000)
4.12 of 5 Votes: 1
0345531485 (ISBN13: 9780345531483)
Rate book
More of the same. I am not disappointed. I do wish that the bit with Arlen and company at the beginning was omitted or put at the end. I was more intrigued by that plot line, which seems to be mostly reserved for book 5. Mentions of Djinn bothered me a little, twice it came up in colloquial metaphors but they clearly do not exist in the setting and have no place in the setting mythology as shown so far, but they were included because it had a note of Arabishness. If you are not familiar with the series you need to start at book one. ***NOTE: This is the fourth book in the Demon Cycle series. Read the first three books before beginning this one. This review necessarily contains details from preceding books. Even with this caveat, I shall withhold many details because Mr. Brett introduces several new pivotal characters, interactions and twists best discovered during your own reading, sans even the slightest hint.******THE STORY SO FAR. In THE DAYLIGHT WAR, Arlen and Jardir fought a duel straight off a cliff. Nobody knows their eventual fate, save perhaps Renna who has chosen to make herself scarce. In their wake, Cutter's Hollow and Krasia are without their respective proclaimed Deliverer, opening the way for a multi-faction power struggle. Meanwhile, the demons grow ever stronger, amassing information on the humans and preparing its forces for a decisive strike.Even while fearing Jardir's fate, Inevera scrambles to maintain control in his absence, trying to prevent the Krasians from descending into chaos with this power vacuum, whether in the interim or –Everam forbid-- permanent. Krasia has never had a dearth of would-be successors coveting The Skull Throne, not the least of which are Jardir's own sons. The danger is that the battle for the throne will fragment the Krasians and irreparably damage the unity forged by Jardir during his rule. For Inevera, it holds the added danger of her sons destroying each other in their attempt to ascend the steps to the throne.Leesha struggles to preserve order and calm despite the unease caused by Arlen's disappearance. She marshalls preparations for the coming showdown with the corelings but is taxed by limited resources-- not enough weapons, not enough fighters, not enough provisions, not enough safe land, not enough gatherers to tend to the injured. She aids in brokering an alliance between Angiers and Miln but it is fraught with posturing egos, deceit and conflicting interests. The only thing certain is that, while they may survive Arlen's disappearance, they will not stand a chance against the forces of The Core –or even the Krasians-- unless they find a way to unite their forces and work together. With all these on her plate, it is almost easy to overlook Leesha's personal dilemma, but it will constantly reassert itself, keeping Leesha's head spinning.THE SKULL THRONE is a fat, 704-page tome, but it is dense and packed with more than any word count can indicate. It reveals details of so many characters' lives-- the relationships of Rojer, Amanvah and Sikvah, Ashia and Asome, Leesha and Thamos; a peak into Sharum'ting training, the art and science of herb gathering, and so many others that make the world of the DEMON CYCLE vivid and palpable. Everyone has come a long way since THE WARDED MAN. If there is indeed a Deliverer, he will not be one simply thrust upon cowering, unquestioning folk. Any Deliverer will not remain as such without being embraced by people no longer hiding behind wards.I cannot say enough about the skirmishes, duels, clashes, battles-- coreling vs. human, Krasian vs. Thesan, dama vs. sharum and more. The list is endless and so are the manner of weapons, techniques and strategies employed. Mr. Brett pulls no punches, his description of these encounters likely powered by hora. ***PETER V. BRETT MUST BE A JONGLEUR. In this penultimate installment of the Demon Cycle series, Mr. Brett maintains several balls –and other sharp, pointy objects-- in the air, all probably with one leg off the ground. He is the Penn Jillette of epic fantasy. He deftly weaves interlocking stories of ever-expanding worlds (Thesa and the Core), political intrigue and machinations, romance, contending faiths, all manner of fighting and warfare, and personal conflicts. He is an illusionist, he entertains even while diverting, distracting and deflecting. The story takes dizzying turns and reverses, existing on so many layers-- spies abound, unknown alliances exist, festering vengeance waits to be unleashed, loyalties are tested.***PETER V. BRETT IS AN HONORARY WOMAN (a high honor indeed!). Once again, the women take center stage in THE SKULL THRONE. While Arlen and Jardir appear the marquee heroes of this series, the women are its true movers and shakers. Unlike many stories, this one would be sparse, boring, practically catatonic sans the women. They are the rudders to the men's engines, the wind moving and directing their sails. Inevera, Leesha, Renna, Ashia, Amanvah, Sikvah, Araine-- these are but a few in a parade of formidable women. Not content to make their own choices or initiate their own actions, they determine those of others as well, including the men in their lives. They wear more hats than the men have spears. Not a one is subjugated or possessed, and should they ever walk a step behind, it is by their own choice and design. Best of all, these women have the confidence to let the men be who and what they need to be, all while maintaining their own identity.***PETER V. BRETT MUST BE A CUTTER. He sliced my heart when he sent Arlen and Jardir off a cliff at the end of THE DAYLIGHT WAR. He adds several other cuts to my already bleeding heart in THE SKULL THRONE and I have no doubt he will add to my heartache after I read the final book. I may need a hora healing to recover. No one is safe, there is always a price to pay. But it is all inevera and I will thank Mr. Brett for all of it. Maybe. Eventually. PETER V. BRETT IS THE DELIVERER. Of characters that will knock you over faster than a Sharum'ting's sharusahk kick, of a world so fascinating and branches out wider than Jardir's family tree, of a plot more elaborate and unpredictable than Inevera's schemes, of action that swings faster and more often than a revolving door in a weed gatherer's brothel. I understand that some will object to Arlen's and Jardir's minimal appearance in this book, but this fearlessness is one of the reasons why I cherish THE SKULL THRONE and this entire series. It is not a myopic look at just the obvious protagonist and antagonist but blurs the line between the two. This tale is grounded and more realistic for the world turns on the choices and acts of the multitude. The ripples caused by the most seemingly trivial and insignificant are unforeseeable, impactful and immutable. I cannot appreciate Mr. Brett's multi-pronged approach more. I applaud the attention to detail and the desire to let every participant shine-- in their triumphs and failures, their joys and sadness, their magnanimity and self-interest.This is a corespawned awesome book and I really, really, really –REALLY-- want the next one. I will require much couzi to tide me over. It is taking all my self-control not to ask Mr. Brett, “When's the next book coming out?!” But should my resolve fail and I throw the vexing question his way, he has no one to blame but himself for stirring such hankering and impatience in me with his fantastic DEMON rippin' CYCLE books!
Three stars only because of the clifhanger at the end.
Good... but mainly building into the final plot
Another worthy entry in the series.
Review will shown on site after approval.
(Review will shown on site after approval)