I might be in the minority here, but I'm gonna throw it out there anyway.
I loved this book. For the first time since Mistwraith Arithon seemed whole to me. I particularly liked a few things about his post Kewar self.
A) He's focused, or at least he seems so to me. He spent a year with Davien LEARNING. The oppressive weight of his guilt is now gone and he's coming into his own again.
B) His interactions with ppl, specifically Feylind, Jeynsa and Elaira. The paragraph that described Arithon and Feylind's relationship on the Evenstar took my breath away. As for Jeynsa, I can't wait till she and Arithon meet again. She is a lioness, as Janny's described her, unbridled at this point, and I thought Arithon handled her very well. Didn't coddle, but did try to make peace as well, and showed his understanding compassion. (Which we all know is what he's best at ;)) And Elaira, just wow on those two. That has been forever coming and Morriel came along... What a violation. Painful could be a word. But the love between the two of them did not suffer for it.
I liked that Arithon finally put words to what we as the readers can see. Its not that Lysaer is inherently evil, but that he's been seized by the curse, just as Arithon has been, and even his gift of Justice has been corrupted. Now the Fellowship responded with the fact that Lysaer has character flaws that the mistwraith magnified, which is true, but I like that Arithon was quick to come back with, "And I don't?" He knows he's not invincible or immune to this curse.
I noticed Lysaer is showing signs of the curse getting a dangerous hold on him, the way that it had ahold of Arithon in FP. And Lysaer has only 2 loyal men to him. SE and his butler. This was a rough story for Lysaer, he came from having everything a few books ago, to being the "lonely at the top" cliche. He doesn't even have Ellaine and Kevor anymore, (though btw, I'm curious to see how that plotline is going to come into play.)
The SE plot-twist was a stroke of genius (which I've come to expect from Janny ;)). He's a very interesting character now. And I'll keep in mind, and hope that he does too, that Asandir said to him, "The F7 is not your enemy and neither is Arithon."...
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. First read.
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Lysaer is not evil and definitely the curse has warped him. However, Lysaer has also helped warp himself which I think is what the Fellowship was trying to say. Lysaer's ability to twist truth into self delusional lies to set himself up as the -only- person that can save the people is the most terrible of his flaws. That is going to be really nigh impossible for him to break away from since it feeds his sense of self worth and allows him to justify all the deaths in his name.
I found that Lysear was flawed from the begining. In CotM there are several scenes that show his "weaknesses" before the Mistwraithe has even touched him. The whole Red desert story when he fought Arithon's attempts to save them both; the scene with Traithe in Althain tower - when he is given the chance to learn to use his gift but spurns it becasue he feels his call to justice is more important; the scene when Arithon first uses his sword to save the party from the Khadrim - Lysear shows jealousy; his quickness to judge the clans when the group spends time with Maneolle (forgive my spellings - don't have the books infront of me)and again his jealousy of Arithon's seeming easy acceptance of the clans. So while the Curse is definitly twisting him, he had some issues before the curse got hold of him.
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Traitor's Knot did not have the "punch" I expected, but for me this is OKAY. Last summer, I had the fortune of having enough consecutive time to read the entire series from CotM to Peril's Gate in a very short span.
The fact that Arc 3 is split into segments is really just a physical limitation. When you force yourself to think of their segments as parts of a whole, Arc 3 does not disappoint. Each new segment forces me to revise my appreciation for the previous segments, and always in a positive direction. I strongly disliked Fugitive Prince at first, and I thought that Peril's Gate went over the deep end pounding the self-pity angle into our collective heads -- reading TK made me understand that everything to date has been completely necessary and important. Now, I am a little disappointed in the Necromancer storyline of TK, as it does present itself like a standalone story within a story. Based on everything to date though, I fully expect that this subplot will make a full recovery in the final segment of Arc 3 and be ridiculously sensible.
I almost wish there could be a "collector's edition" of Arc 3 from start to finish without the "refresh my memory" recap blurbs scattered around. I realize it would be the size of a library dictionary with print just as small, but it would really drive home the scope of the Arc!
Thanks to everybody who's posted - and particularlay those who noticed the quality of the MM edition was worth the wait.
This said -
Chad - your comment REALLY warmed my heart - I think you are the first, EVER who's realized and then stated spontaneously that Arc III is in fact ONE STORY LINE, and has forgiven me for Fugitive Prince - when the whole arc is complete it will be quite apparent that no bit was frivolous - just in the early stages, when no one saw the big plan but me, it was Very hard seeing reader commentary -
Thank you for the brilliant exoneration! I really REALLY appreciated that statement, in public.
(she really did know what she was about, After All) How I wish the reviewers could see with even half of of your insight!
Now - if I could elicit that same degree of trust from my readers through the next two arcs --- until this series is truly finished and the whole tapestry is in view....
I have more thoughts to post later--but I'll put this out here firsthere in hopes that Janny will see and appreciate it.
I just finished reading TK; I would have ordered the British version early (as I did with Peril's Gate), but it wasn't a good idea to distract myself during the semester. So I read TK without having re-read the earlier volumes--and then found myself going on a revealing discontinuous re-read hopping through the books because, ummm, Sulfin Evend is really cool (probably the most interesting character in the book, in some ways!).
And *very* gratifyingly, I found myself really enjoying parts of the earlier books that hadn't done anything for me before and that I had hurried through. Particularly a lot of the Lysaer material, but also some of the Arithon-and-the-clans stuff. It's a very different experience to re-read the same material with more knowledge of where it's going and thus why it's there in the first place. I actually prefer to read that way, which is why I make a quicker first pass through a new book and then a slower second and third, even marking out separate passages to be strung together.
The blow-up maps in the MM edition are absolutely *wonderful* and made me pay more attention to geography than I did when flipping back and trying to read that teeny little map.
And then one weeny little question: Dakar, somewhere in CotM, tells Lysaer that the Fellowship selected three men and two women to found the royal lines. The Appendix in TK gives four men and one woman. Is Dakar referring to Iamine s'Gannley (who declined the honor) as one of the women, or is this an ever-so-slight discontinuity?
I love this series. Janny has been such a good author to me since I was a little reader and picked up a paperback copy of _Stormwarden_. Can't wait for the next book so I can rethink TK too!
Janny - Perhaps I am out on the loop on this one, as I got TK plus all previous UK versions - I really don't understand why people are so upset about where the books are split, what cover it has, and production delays etc.. etc..
The story is GOOD. Has been from book One, with each one adding clarity and continuity. We know where you are going because you have constantly told us as much as you can without trying to give anything critical away. This board is a dream come true - a place where we get access to the writer.
Whatever happened to just being patient, people? What's the hassle with waiting for a book? Will you actually die if it doesn't reach the shelf at the appointed date on the appointed time?
Perhaps I'm a bit old-fashioned in my approach - but Janny deserves respect, for what she has written, for putting herself out there for us to interact with, for giving us space to connect with the material, for who she is. She has spent over 20 years on this project. She works DAMN hard. She has every right to choose who she publishes with and what she prints. And I for one, am grateful when her books come out, in whatever edition, with whatever cover - I love the fact that she takes such care.
Sorry if I offend anyone - I do believe that people have the right to speak their minds and have their opinion - and I'm adding mine.
Nora and Roisin - thanks for your support. It is such a satisfaction to me when readers go back, and appreciate a section afresh, in light of deeper knowledge - as this is what the series is meant to do.
If wishes were horses, readers would not rush those scenes at first - (they'd trust and have patience with the author NOT leading them astray) since then the later scenes that deepened the foundation would be "ah HAH" moments in their own rights.
And there are tiny hints that would alleviate a lot of confusion.
I can but hope that this sort of message is reaching other boards than this one, at home, because it just might encourage readers who got frustrated and walked to rethink their opinion and get back on board....wishing horses a lot today!
I wonder how Prof. Tolkein would have fielded today's e mails from fans, since he took years and YEARS to complete his trilogy....are we a less patient society, now? It's the continual frustration of reading a living author - you can read faster than we creators can write....!
MINOR SPOILIER MINOR SPOILER MINOR SPOILER!!! caution!!!!
On the founders of the crown lineages - no this was not an inconsistency. It was the first "clue" or underpinning, that foreran the sequence told to Sulfin Evend by Enithen Tuer....s'Gannley refused, as you learned.
Janny, I'm glad you took my post to heart.
My favourite "tiny hint" moment was from before TK was released. Rereading Grand Conspiracy let me figure out how Lysaer's second wife managed to escape in Peril's Gate. Learning I was right in TK just made it that much more meaningful!
Róisín and Chad - Hear Hear!!!
I definitely agree with both of you. However much it hurts to wait, it's better to do so and get a product that is worth reading.
Janny - one thing you have never lost is my trust that you know where you are going. That has been apparent from the first book and it keeps me coming back. Impatience is hard to get rid of because of this: if I did not trust you to get it right then I would not mind waiting.