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Harshini (The Hythrun Chronicles: Demon Child Trilogy, Book 3) Hardcover – June 30, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Australian author Fallon's rousing final entry in her Demon Child trilogy (after 2004's Treason Keep) relies less on standard high fantasy tropes than its predecessors. Half-Harshini/half-human R'shiel is now comfortable with her destiny as the demon child, but she's still clueless about how to accomplish her mission. Nor does she completely understand her powers or how to use them. Intent on saving the gods and the demigodlike Harshini by defeating the austere god Xaphista, whose minions control the land of Medalon, R'shiel must also act as a marriage counselor to Princess Adrina of Fardohnya and Damin Wolfblade, Warlord of Krakandar, whose union she has forced for political purposes. Guided by the half-Harshini Brak, R'shiel has little time to accomplish her many tasks, since the Harshini king grows ever weaker. Once past the initial requisite précis of the past, readers will find that the pace moves briskly to the dramatic conclusion.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Book three of the Hythrun Chronicles moves inexorably toward the final battle against the god Xaphista and his fanatical followers. R'shiel has accepted her role as the demon child and, though still learning her great powers, knows she must defeat the god before he destroys the Harshini and takes all the lands as his own. Medalon has surrendered to the god's forces, and Tarja and the Defenders have been forced to flee into the wilderness, where Tarja hopes to join forces with Damin Wolfblade and his Hythrun army. But the Hythrun high prince has died, and the Hythrun capital is besieged by the forces of a pretender to the throne. Damin, now the high prince, must save the city. As in Medalon (2004) and Treason Keep (2004), the capricious gods are part of the mix, and now intrigue and counterintrigue become even more complicated. The battles are fierce, the losses heartrending in Fallon's beautifully created world, whose disparate inhabitants are once again completely convincing, making Harshini a chilling, thrilling conclusion to the trilogy. Sally Estes
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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The plot of this book is, for the most part, a direct continuation of the first two books. It brings together multiple loose ends from the previous books. Some of the previous plot lines that are resolved are: Loclon, readers will remember him as a tormentor of R'Shiel in the past books, we finally get to see if R'Shiel is successful in the goal she was created for, and there are several political sub plots that are resolved (or at the very least furthered for future novels). There is also the addition of a couple new plot elements that add a little more substance to the story. While there are quite a few things going on in this book, it felt a little lacking in plot development to me. What I mean is that, in my opinion, the plot came across as the characters (mostly R'Shiel and Brak) running around tying up loose ends from the first two books. While this is fine in moderation it seemed that the entire novel was about that and took away from the `newness' one expects from a book. It seems like a mad dash to tie everything together within the required word count. Because of this the book, at times, comes across as disjointed and the flow seemed to sputter. With that said, there are some aspects of the story that I really liked. For instance the Citadel. I really enjoyed the last 100 or so pages when it really went into detail about the citadel and what it really means to the Harshini. I enjoyed the marriage angle and the interactions between those two characters. But, overall, it was a hit and miss story for me. Some good, some I would have liked to see a different way.
The characters in this book are largely the same characters from the first two novels. Characters such as R'Shiel, Brak, Tarja, Loclon, Damin, Adrina, and several others. This is a double-edge sword. First, it's a good thing because Ms. Fallon does not need to spend as much time establishing the characters, readers already know who they are and what their motives are. On the other hand, readers are not introduced to many new characters and as such there are not many new dynamics introduced. A couple of the characters become too two-dimensional for my tastes. Tarja for one, he is very steadfast in his beliefs and does not really change overly much during the novel, he ends the novel pretty much how he began the novel. R'Shiel, on the other hand, has a great deal of character development. There doesn't seem to be a consistent formula for which characters are developed more than to others. There were a couple characters I would have liked to know more about, but they were simply background material and when push came to shove they weren't explored nearly as much as I thought they would be.
A couple criticisms about this novel:
1 - As with the second novel, some of the dialogue in this booked seemed vastly out of place with the rest of the book. It seemed `off' and didn't allow the rest of the book to flow as it should have.
2 - While there is a central plot, the majority of the book felt as though it was just about loose ends being tied up for future novels. I almost feel a little cheated when an author spends the better part of a novel setting up future books. I want something more substantial and concrete in the book I am reading now, not future planning for the majority of the book.
A couple things I liked about this novel.
1 - Even with the disjointed plot, characters, and other things, Ms. Fallon's prose is simply a joy to read. It has a natural smooth flow to it that allows the reader to become totally entrenched in the novel.
2 - The descriptions in the book allow the reader to see what Ms. Fallon's vision is, but also to add their own imagination to the equation. I appreciate it when authors toe the line between too much information and allowing the reader to see what they want to see. Ms. Fallon certainly excels in that area.
Even with the things I didn't really care for about this novel, the end result was still entertaining and enjoyable. I think it says a lot about an author to be able to hold one's interest even when the reader sees flaws and has different expectations. Ms. Fallon has penned an enjoyable trilogy and I for one am anxious to read other books by her in this world as there seem to be numerous possibilities to explore. I would certainly recommend fantasy fans read Medalon as it is a fantastic book and great start to this trilogy. Then make the decision to continue the trilogy or not. There are aspects in this series that will please almost every fantasy fan. I enjoyed it and think others will as well.