Annon, the young Druidech, remains the least interesting of the characters, despite the importance of his role. Even his adventures have a sense of distance about them.
Hettie and Paedrin's personalities are more volatile, more passionate, and their relationship is complicated by their very different cultural backgrounds. In Fireblood, these two were the most engaging characters, and they continue to add spice to the story.
Several new minor characters were added toward the conclusion of Fireblood, but Dryad-Born introduces several more. It is the introduction of Phae, however, that prompts a new and appealing angle to the plot. Phae and her capture by the Quiet Kishion add an intriguing and crucial element to the story.
As in Fireblood, the story jumps from one set of characters to another, but Phae's story becomes the most engrossing. She is the key to saving the kingdoms from the plague and if the Arch-Rike can't control her, he will destroy her.
This second volume in Wheeler's trilogy improves and advances the plot line. Some episodes drag a bit, and the writing feels less stilted, but lacks a consistent flow.
While Wheeler doesn't make my list of "favorite fantasy authors" with Robin Hobb, Kate Elliot, Patrick Rothfuss, George R.R. Martin, or Tolkein in the high fantasy series category or Megan Whalen Turner and Sarah J. Maas in YA high fantasy, he has written an entertaining series.
Wheeler spins a complicated and multi-faceted fantasy with likable, ambiguous, and villainous characters at odds with one another. There is plenty of adventure to be had in this trilogy, and I look forward to the next and final installment.
Fantasy. 2014. Print version: 463 pages.
When I was trying to think of my favorite authors in fantasy, I found myself bogged down in the sub-genres. I stuck to high/epic fantasy series, because that is where these two novels belong. However, there are so many sub-genres that I enjoy and didn't mention those or their authors.
Do you have favorite authors of high fantasy series? What are your favorite sub-genres of fantasy?