Moorehawke Trilogy: The Rebel Prince by Celine Kiernan
|Moorehawke Trilogy: The Rebel Prince by Celine Kiernan|
|Reviewer: Robert James|
|Summary: A surprising but fitting conclusion to the Moorhawke trilogy reveals secrets, ties up loose ends, and somehow actually lives up to the insanely high expectations I had of it after the superb first two books. Highest recommendation possible.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 464||Date: October 2010|
After spending the entire of The Crowded Shadows, the excellent second book in this series, looking for it, the Protector Lady Wynter Moorehawke has finally discovered the hidden camp of her childhood friend Prince Alberon. Can she, along with her travelling companions Razi Kingsson - Alberon's brother - and Christopher Garron, persuade the Rebel Prince to make peace with his father, or is their quest to end in bloodshed and failure?
As a trilogy, this has been incredibly character-driven, and the long-awaited on-page introduction of Alberon is well worth waiting for. Like the central trio and Alberon's father King Jonathon, he's brilliantly developed as a character and every main player is wonderfully well-rounded, to the point where Kiernan's almost surpassed heroes and villains - except for the Loup-Garous, who make a welcome return from book two to at least give us someone to really despise.
Christopher's desperation for revenge on the Loup-Garous, and Razi's knowledge of the need for him to hold off as Alberon relies on the unsavoury group as allies, is an entertaining sideline here, but the main focus is the final revelation of the mysterious weapon. The revelation of Wynter's father's invention - which was sidelined for most of the second book after being the main focus of the original - is packed with all the power I was hoping for, and the conflicting views of the different characters on whether it's right to use it, along with the political scheming, means the final part of the trilogy is every bit as thought-provoking as The Crowded Shadows was.
It's an overwhelmingly sad book in parts - there were several moments when I was practically convinced that there was no good way out of the situation which had arisen - and the ending is beautifully fitting but certainly not a case of everyone living happily ever after. Still, that was never really on the cards in a trilogy as layered and complex as this, and I'd have been disappointed in Kiernan if the author had ended it like that. Instead, it's a classic ending which sees everything tied up but leaves readers to decide for themselves where mistakes were made and, to a large degree, who was actually in the right.
I should point out that despite my repeated references to the complexity of the characters and their motivations, that's not to suggest this closing chapter lacks pace or action in any way. There's a simmering tension throughout much of the book and some superbly exciting sequences, three in particular standing out for me.
Overall this is an amazing conclusion to what's probably become one of my three favourite fantasy trilogies of all time, while Kiernan's thought-provoking writing has made her jump right to the top of the list of authors whose next works I'm eagerly awaiting. Strongest possible recommendation - although obviously I'd suggest you grab the first couple before reading to get the full story!
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
Further reading suggestion: For more fantastic fantasy, I'd recommend Karen Miller's Kingmaker, Kingbreaker series, which starts with The Innocent Mage.
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You can read more book reviews or buy Moorehawke Trilogy: The Rebel Prince by Celine Kiernan at Amazon.com.
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