A Dark Way to Glory

by Chaz Brenchley

Cover image

Series: Outremer #3
Publisher: Ace
Copyright: 1999
Printing: July 2003
ISBN: 0-441-01086-5
Format: Mass market
Pages: 280

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This is the third book in the US publication of the Outremer series, and not a book you want to read without having read the first two. Be careful, as the UK publication of this series is a trilogy instead of six books but reuses some of the titles.

Ah, the wandering through the desert, with characters who aren't familiar with it. The lack of water, the heat, the constant similarity of landscape... yeah, I was feeling like I'd read other stories like this before. It's not badly told, but this book strikes me much like the rest of the series: decent, but not particularly distinguished or unlike many other heroic fantasies that have been written.

Character-wise, this book mostly follows the next logical steps in the coming-of-age story for the boy hero coming to terms with powers that he's just starting to understand. It's not entirely generic (the sense of isolation sets it a bit apart, although I found myself thinking of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series in a few places), but it doesn't particularly set itself apart from the pack either. I was pleasantly surprised, though, that the characters became much less annoying than the previous book, rather than following the normal trend of getting worse, and the bickering stayed realistic and became less frequent. This is an excellent sign for the rest of the series.

There are interesting bits of magic here that I want to learn more about (I like the concept of the djinn's world quite a bit), and the story continues to be compelling enough to make me want to see what happens next, although not compelling enough to get me to immediately pick up the next book. The book also feels quite well-researched; I get an impression of more depth behind the cultures and bits of magic than I often get from stock fantasy.

If you like the standard fantasy setting with enough difference to not feel exactly like other books you've read, this is still a decent series; it just doesn't really excite me.

Followed by Feast of the King's Shadow.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Reviewed: 2004-06-26

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