Tower of the King's Daughter

by Chaz Brenchley

Cover image

Series: Outremer #2
Publisher: Ace
Copyright: 1997
Printing: June 2003
ISBN: 0-441-01080-6
Format: Mass market
Pages: 256

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This is a review of the second Outremer book in the US printing, which is actually the second half of the first book in the original UK printing (and shares the same title). Yes, this is just amazingly annoying and stupid. Since this is actually the second half of a book, you definitely want to read The Devil in the Dust first.

I enjoyed this book fairly well, better than the first in large part because more things happen and more interesting elements have been woven into the plot. It's still fairly generic fantasy, in that I've not seen any ideas here that struck me as truly different or deeply thought-provoking, but the hidden land of Surayon, the desert nomad Sherai, and the djinni are all proving to be intriguing. I think I'm sold enough to keep reading the series.

In the negatives department, however, the characterization still leaves quite a bit to be desired. The two primary characters continue to act very young and occasionally stupid, and in this book there was a growing amount of sniping and belittling between the characters (one of the things that I ended up truly detesting in Robert Jordan's books). It's bad enough to have a character who clearly has no idea what they're doing without being constantly reminded of this by the other characters all the time. I can only put up with a very small amount of that before I want the character to either start seriously improving or end up dealing with the put-downs in some completely unexpected way. That hasn't happened in this series so far.

You will probably want to slap the characters a few times in this book, but thankfully the plot also does keep moving fast enough that none of those moments linger. The twists of the plot are a mixed bag; some of them surprised me in mildly interesting ways, but some of them were painfully obvious. The background and magical system don't have a lot of fascinating depth to them, but there's enough there to be able to dig in a little. And while the characters are occasionally stupid, neither the plot nor the narrator talk down to the reader.

Recommended cautiously, although only as a competent generic fantasy. This book combined with The Devil in the Dust form a single book that falls on the good side of average.

Followed by A Dark Way to Glory.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Reviewed: 2004-04-16

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