Superb narration. This is a fun series, told in 3rd person. The pace moves faster in this book, compared to book 1, probably because the characters tr..Show More »avel around. Much of this book is set on board a trading ship called the Sapphire, and in towns along The River (unnamed). This river is believed to be the goddess, a river that has no source apparently, and appears to loop around, reconfiguring itself like Chutes and Ladders.
Wonderful cast of characters! They grew on me in this book. Together, they must interpret the vague riddle from the goddess and accomplish her mission. I was constantly guessing the riddle, too. Surprising twists.
Seven ranks of swordsmen and the color of their kilt: Level 1 is called a novice, wearing a white kilt. Level 2 is called apprentice, wearing a yellow kilt. Level 3 is called swordsman, wearing brown. (At this level, you can own things.) Level 4 is called adept, wearing orange. Level 5 is called master, wearing red. Level 6 is called "honorable" wearing green. Level 7 is called "lord" wearing blue.
Superb narration. I have really enjoyed this series, and read / listened to all four books. The 4th book is set 15 years in the future, so the main pl..Show More »ot line ends here with book 3. I gave the other books 4 and 5 stars for story, but this one lost a point because it felt like the author lost track of Nnanji's characterization towards the end. He behaved towards Wallie in subtle and overt ways that didn't fit. Also, some plot holes, explained below.
However, the characterization of the old priest Hanakora felt very authentic. Ktanji, also! Interesting, seeing how the terrible Shonsu ousted easygoing Wallie Smith when his old flame the minstrel appeared in the plot.
I wanted to know more about the river. Is there a source? Does it move?
Seemed to me that there wouldn't have been a guild of "scribes" a millennia ago, when writing didn't exist. Did those early scribes keep records with pictures? We never did find out why the scribes and the priests fought so long ago, developing an eternal feud, nor why the swordsmen sided with the priests.
I question the likelihood of repressing competing inventions and keeping so many inventions secret for so long. And I'm not really buying the disinterest the tryst leaders had in anything but swordsmanship and sutras.
Crime and punishment. I didn't buy how the sorcerer's fate was resolved, in a society where a slight dishonor ends in certain death.
On the up side, the epilogue of this book is beautifully written, heartwarming and thought provoking. Brought a tear to my eye, almost. Plus, the song "The Swordsmen in the Morning" is evocative. Loved that whole scene.
I also enjoyed book 4, and it helped to resolve some other minor uncertainties left hanging at the end of this book.
Good series. Fairly light fantasy, somewhat suspenseful, with humor and a thread of romance.