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Well of the Damned (The Kinshield Saga) (Volume 3) Paperback – February 2, 2013
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About the Author
K.C. May grew up in the mid-western USA and in Hawaii, and earned a B.A. in Russian from Florida State University. After a year in Taiwan teaching English and studying Mandarin Chinese, she lived in the Arizona desert where she founded a Rottweiler rescue organization and worked as a computer programmer and technical writer. Her interests include karate, backpacking, motorcycle riding, dog training, and computer gaming. In 2010, she retreated to cooler, greener Georgia.
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Spoilers (general theme)
Gavin has taken over the Kingship of the Realm of Thendylath. Things have been going along fairly smoothly until...
1.) it started raining and hasn't stopped
2.) a thief and murderer by the name of Sithral Tyr has recently been slain, but his soul had been previously captured and placed in a porcelain figurine. However, he's lucky enough to find himself near the severely injured, (but still barely alive) Cirang Deathsblade when the figurine accidentally breaks. The timing is perfect, as this releases his soul from captivity allowing him, spiritually speaking, to reside in another life form... but the problem is that he is now a man, trapped in a woman's body.
Both factors mentioned above, have a significant bearing on Gavin's quest in this book... to find the Well of Enlightenment.
Some thoughts on "Well of the Damned"...
1.) a good carry over from the previous books. Enough details are mentioned to reacquaint readers with some important events from the past books.
2.) an interesting premise for the main plot. The 'Well Water' concept was a particularly novel idea.
3.) some outstanding sections with lots of action and intrigue situations.
4.) in general, there was a nice sense of pace and timing with an action vs drama ratio that was spot on.
5..) important people can be grievously injured or die... a realistic happening in a fantasy adventure of this nature.
6.) map... a well detailed map with town, roads etc... showing all the important landmarks mentioned in the book.
7.) cover art... beautifully rendered and complimenting the other books in the series.
1.) Gavin... the following contains <SPOILERS> and obviously reflects my own personal and subjective biases... other readers may feel differently.
a.) unfortunately our hero has taken on the persona of having almost God-like abilities... from healing people at the brink of death, to scrying enemies from afar, with a host of other magical abilities in-between. Then add to this his magical sword that warns him of danger... does anyone really have a chance against him?
b.) he makes some poor choices that put the rest of his party of travelers at risk. one example of several... his decision to needlessly split up his party in the mountain near the 'well'.
c.) some reactions e.g. the silly hilarity surrounding the 'disguise' scene that occurred at a point when so much was at risk.
d.) for a king, he's embarrassed several times by his wife in public and he allows her to get away with it. For Gavin, as a man's man, this had me shaking my head while cringing... lol.
e.) and finally... Gavin, although he was basically a good man and competent military leader, somehow never impressed me as the ideal choice to run a country.
2.) the use of the word... 'menses'. This struck me (under the circumstances that prevailed at the time) as just so unlikely a choice of a word to use to describe a woman's period... this from a murderous thug who's spirit just recently inherited a female body. There were some other terms, i.e. vulgarisms, that might have been more realistically uttered by such a low life as this, once he discovered this unexpected bodily function.
This was a good story and I'm sure that there will be a lot of readers (especially those who've read the previous Kinshield Saga novels) will really enjoy this latest work. But somehow this story, with as much potential as it had, just never worked for me.
Yes there were some great moments, but from the middle section onward and approaching the end, I became increasingly aware of some plot holes... a few things that just didn't ring quite true to me. These were incidents that I felt with a little more attention and care could have been avoided or corrected giving the tale a more polished and seamless end sequence.
As it is... 3 Stars
Ok, now that the praise is out of the way, there are a few issues I have with the way the story unfolded. There were several instances where I felt things happened just to be able to move the plot forward in the direction the author wanted it to go, and no other reason. It felt like his wife was made to be angry and pig headed just so that we wouldn't be as upset at what happened in the end of the book, and her prior character had little evidence of these traits that I can recall(maybe i'm wrong).
The escape of Cirang/Tyr(from now on I will refer to them as Tyrang) was handled fairly well, however the subsequent chase was not. There were several mentions of them following tracks, and since they knew where the bad guy was there was no reason what so ever to slow themselves down doing so. Then, when they split up at the well... because one of the characters needed to die after sleeping with the other(of which there is no reference to or pain from that event shown after the fact). They say... I hope he didn't notice this leak and then just seem to go on the assumption that Tyrang didn't and because of this doesn't think about using his vision to check the water in the area around him to make sure people aren't going to flip out. They finally begin to catch up with Tyrang and his wife is excited to see him and then goes all angry grizzly on him again, and he just accepts the fact and says oh well even though there's the potential of the well being polluted and the population of the city going nuts(oh wait... they shrugged off the fact that Tyrang might have gotten some well water). Then, when he finally is close enough to go get the bad guy they decide to split up because Gavin would draw too much attention and the crowds would scare Tyrang away. So... Gavin goes off to find a book and learns of a spell he can use to disguise himself(moment of levity sorely needed included), and Tyrang slips off before the other half of the party can get to her/him, and hides in the only place Gavin's sight won't penetrate. Now, all of this other stuff that happened before this, while not fun to read through was not terribly distracting from the goodness that was the rest of the story. However, when he notices he can't see anyone inside the church, and Daia(sp?) goes in to check if Tyrang is in there he's just like... oh ok so you didn't notice her with a cursory examination she must not be in the only place I can't see into, oh well lets go back to the keep. Once back there they have a meeting and someone says what about the caves under the city? and he's like... hey that might be it!... lets wait until morning to check and see if anyone has gotten into them because it will give the bad guy time to get their plan into motion.
Now, it might seem like I hated this book from the diatribe I just typed, but that is not the case. I simply want to point out how weak that section of the story was compared to the rest of it. There are so many other ways that you could have slowed down their pursuit and killed off a character or two, or distracted them from their goal. I look forward to seeing where the story goes from here, and hope I haven't given offense.
I love that Gavin isn't your typical gorgeous, well mannered and polite hero. He's obnoxious, crass and more like someone I'd like to meet.