That difficult second album. Sometimes it is really hard to follow up on a novel that most people found to be fantastic. Sometimes the middle book can be a little bit of a let down, as it is simply the second act of a play and rarely has a satisfying end. Here though, Keith Baker has crafted a book that exceeds his first novel, and has enough action, intrigue and character building to keep you flipping those pages.
The book does end on a cliffhanger to end all cliffhangers, but it just means that we will be rushing out to get that last volume the minute it hits the shelves.
This book is The Dreaming Dark's equivalent of Aliens to Alien, Superman II to Superman, The Empire Strikes back to Star Wars. But I have a feeling that his last novel in the series will not be a Return of the Jedi or Superman III.
This book takes you on an adventure across Khorvaire to a land that we know very little about, Xen'drik. Along the way Keith Baker adds so many layers to his characters it is unbelievable. We now have a group of people that we genuinely care about. To be honest I was not bothered either way what happened to them in the first book, but whilst reading this I was panicking at the thought of anything this group of adventurers.
I loved the new elements that were introduced in this novel, namely the adventures on Xen'drik. I really enjoyed the Xen'drik drow. These are a race that could have been done so wrong, playing on the cool factor of the drow from Forgotten Realms, but Keith has done enough to make them as different and fresh as possible and at the same time make them as deadly as ever.
I am really looking forward to the final volume now, and have a new found respect for this man who only released his first novel about this time last year.
Keith Baker - I salute you!