Into a Dark Realm

The first volume of the Darkwar Saga, Flight of the Nighthawks, was a throwback book, the best novel written by Raymond E. Feist in years. Into a Dark Realm once again marks the return of the Feist of old. Sadly, it's not the Raymond E. Feist of the 80s and early 90s, but the Feist who brought us books like Krondor: The Betrayal and Talon of the Silver Hawk. Hence, after a ripping yarn like Flight of the Nighthawks, Into a Dark Realm is a disappointing sequel.

As was the case with the Conclave of Shadows trilogy, the main problem originates from the fact that the author manifestly lacks enough material to fill three volumes adequately. Conclave of Shadows, in my humble opinion, should have been a single novel. In the same vein, the Darkwar Saga likely should be a duology.

Into a Dark Realm was a very odd reading experience. Indeed, some of its storylines are fun and interesting. I particularly enjoyed the plotlines pertaining to Tad, Zana and Jommy. Accordingly, they followed the logical progression from the first volume. Miranda's dealings with the Assembly on Kelewan allowed us to see her play a more active role.

Unfortunately, a big portion of this novel revolves around the storyline concerning Pug's visit to the Dasati homeworld. And that's where the story takes an abrupt turn for the worse. The pace becomes increasingly sluggish, and at times the story becomes extremely boring. Instead of relying on his storytelling skills, Feist forces us to endure unending discussions concerning the Dasati and their universe. And after a few of those, it becomes more and more difficult not to lose interest. There is an "insider" storyline, in which a young Dasati warrior named Valko takes center stage. But the alien Dasati culture fails to capture the reader's imagination. Even Nakor and Magnus' presence is nowhere near enough to make things interesting.

There is a pleasant surprise at the very end, something that was truly unexpected. But it's too little, too late. This book is a decidedly uneven effort from an author who is definitely much better than this. At times entertaining and at times dull, Into a Dark Realm just doesn't have enough "meat" to make a worthy sequel to Flight of the Nighthawks.

On a more positive note, Feist does set up everything for the final chapter in the Darkwar Saga. Let us hope that the third installment will live up to the expectations generated by the quality of the first volume of this series. . .

The final verdict: 7/10

For more info about this book: Canada, USA, Europe

4 commentaires:

Anonymous said...

Having just put the book down about an hour ago, I have to disagree with pretty much everything you've said. IMO, Flight of the Nighthwaks was nowhere near Ray's best book in years (that honour goes to Honoured Enemy). This book however was a step in the right direction and a darn enjoyable read.

The Valko storyline was extremely gripping and the insights into the dasati culture - a history both compelling and tragic - was a delight.

The scenes with Miranda were dull and at times frustrating, especially toward the end. I was left wondering how this supposedly wise character could be so blind to what should've been obvious.

The "pleasant surprise" at the end I'd had spoiled weeks ago, and was wary of the very idea. But Ray pulled it off with style and what I expected to leave a bitter taste in my mouth instead left me feeling a slight sense of awe at how remarkably well-handled it was.

My one main grip with the book was the shoddy editing - something that's sadly become the norm in Ray's recent novels.

But otherwise I'd rate this as his best work since the Serpentwar (excluding the outstanding Honoured Enemy - my fave Feist book of all time) .

Anonymous said...

WHile i too finished the book mere hours ago, i agree with both the reviewer and first comment. While i do believe Fiest has returned to his orginal and better style, leading of with flight of the nighthawkes, i still say that it was a bit of a dissapointment. While interlocking storylines are a hallmark of fiests work, and are usually used to good effect, i believe that in this noval, the storylines where to many, having three throughout most of the story line, and to quick to change, especially at the end. By the end of the book, mere paragraphs of each story were read before it switched. While this is sometimes affective, it was to hard to settle into a good reading pattern and absorbe each character and event. However, like most sequals in a trilogy, this book of course was just a joiner, setting up many differing events and tasks that will be concluded perfectly in the final noval. I especially enjoyed the surprising twist at the end, but thought, like the review that it was too little to late, and would liked a bit more of expansion in that particular area. On the whole, it was a good second noval, and while not the pleasure to read like most other fiest novals are, it is excellent in creating a stunning third book of the series. The biggest problem of this book is that we now have a long wait for the third, with many of us waiting in quivering anticipation of the conclusion.

K. Urry

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