Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Book Review: A Gift of Griffins by V. M. Escalada

Note: This is the sequel to Halls of Law, so the review below contains spoilers for book one.

Pros: fun characters, interesting magic systems

Cons: ending felt rushed

It’s been roughly six months since the invading Halians conquered the Faraman Polity. Jerek Brightwing, hiding in the Serpents Teeth mountains, has been proclaimed Luqs by the Faro of Bears and her soldiers, and is desperate for aid. He sends Talent Karida Nast and a small group to contact nearby potential allies who can help them fulfill the prophecy and retake the throne. Meanwhile the Halian Princess Imperial travels to Farama the Capital for her arranged marriage with the new mage controlled Luqs, Jarek’s father.

This is the second book in the Faraman Polity duology. This series has a lot of fun characters. Kerida and Tel’s relationship was great. I enjoyed seeing Kerida meet up with her sisters, family reunions complicated by Kerida’s being a Talent and therefore ‘not of the world’.

There are three groups of magic users (four if you count the griffins). The Talents and Feelers are all Gifted, with a single innate ability. Talents can ‘flash’ people and objects to see the truth of them. Feelers are varied, with some being able to speak telepathically across distances, healing, lifting objects, etc. The third human group are the Halian Shekayrin who use red faceted crystals to perform spells. Kerida starts out as a Talent but through a Griffin gains an extra power. I thought the author did an excellent job of showing her slowly learn how to use and then master her new abilities. Her progression felt earned even though she mastered things quickly.

I would have loved to learn more about the griffins, especially their history with the Gifted. Considering the prophecy and the reverence griffins are held in by the Shekayrin it seemed an unfortunate oversight to not give more background about them.

I thought there was another book in the series so I was very surprised when things suddenly wrapped up at the end of this book. While there was a good climactic fight that made for a great novel ending, I was surprised by how little series wrap up there seemed to be. More on this in the spoiler section below.

Ultimately it was a good book though I’d have loved a third volume that went into the difficulties of returning society to what it was and dealt with more of the social aspects the first book introduced.


The more I thought about the ending, the more questions I had about how things would continue after the final page. There’s so much work left to be done and a lot of questions left unanswered. Similarly, it didn’t feel like the prophecy was properly fulfilled. Yes, a small group of Feelers, Talents, and one Shekayrin did come together, but I have trouble believing that other Talents and Shekayrin would follow suit considering their long held belief systems. The majority of people in the Faraman Polity don’t even know Feelers still exist, and given how Feelers have been demonized and mythologized over the years, I suspect there will be a measure of panic once non-gifted people learn Feelers are real. Also ignored are the male soldiers and citizens of the Polity who accepted Halian rule without coercion, something that the first book dealt with really well but was largely ignored in this one.

No comments: