|Alma Hromic: Changer of Days (Volume 2)|
New Zealand, ISBN 1-86950-421-6
Ancient prophecy springs to life in unexpected ways when exiled Anghara Kir Hama, born to one culture and forged by another, returns to claim her throne.
Her mentor should have given her a lesson in timing. Anghara no sooner sets foot in a home port than she falls into the clutches of King Sif, her unscrupulous half-brother, who proceeds to strip away her psychic powers by keeping her submerged for months in a drug-induced stupor.
Why Sif didn't kill her immediately, when he already provided ample demonstration of his brutality during the previous book, I cannot begin to fathom. Of course, if Sif acted prudently to eliminate his competition, the book would have ended on page 27.
Naturally, one cannot let a rightful queen languish in a fetid dungeon. Anghara's allies mount a daring (and well-written) rescue. The remainder of the book chronicles Anghara's flight to safety, the healing of her body, mind and spirit, her elevation to godhood, and the triumphal reclamation of her earthly kingdom.
Godhood? Well, sort of. I'll leave the reader to discover how that particular feat manifests itself; I found it to be one of the better-handled passages.
The book's ending, however, failed to satisfy me. Perhaps that owes to my knowledge of castles and siege warfare. A reader less well versed in the military arts might not be as disturbed by the fact that the culminating battle begins because of several utterly unwise decisions on Anghara's part. Attempting to explain her choices as acts of faith -- demi-godhood notwithstanding -- didn't wash with me.
Of course, if Anghara acted prudently to defend her people, the book probably would have ground on for another 50 pages. Sensing a theme here? You bet.
All that aside, I've read far worse high-fantasy offerings. Hromic presents a fully realized, magical world peopled with characters that prove easy to either love or hate, as the situation warrants. She bestows on her readers a few hours of relief from the pressures of mundane life, which is the best gift any author can offer.
Kim D. Headlee
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