Okay, just finished Duncan's second book in the Seventh Sword series. We pick up with the protagonist, and his 'fellowship', the day after the end of the first book. The entirety of the book takes place on, or beside, the flow of the mystical River that is symbolic of the Goddess worshipped by the peoples living near it. In this second book, we begin to encounter 'sorcerers', or peoples who have descended from the mountains to challenge the swordsman caste for local supremacy, town by town and village by village. Recently, every clash between sorcerers and swordsmen has resulted in total domination by sorcerers. By the end of this book, you will discover why. I would say that most will discover why half to three-quarters of the way in, since the answer is rather intuitive and the author does a fair amount to lead the reader into the conclusion, well ahead of the protagonist.
The Bad: 1.) Although I liked this book, many may dislike the amount of action, of which it is short on. Think Sherlock Holmes. Intellectually intriguing and teasing, but not a candidate for a blockbuster film laden down with huge, explosive moments. 2.) Though it is short and not belabored, there is some repetition. An obvious point explained, when I have long since gotten the gist of the matter, kills my reading appetite and I have to go and do something else.
The Good: 1.) The solving of the mysterious plot lines. I can't get too specific without hitting spoilers. In this case, I will only say that the above average mixture of observation and thoughtfulness will have the reader patting themselves on the back for their keen sense of intuitiveness. 2.) The development of Nanji is subtle, but very appreciated by this reader. This is the course I would have expected Nanji's development to take, considering he is regularly exposed to Wallie Smith. 3.) The Sapphire and her crew. It is slow to develop, but I have come to love the crew of the Sapphire by the end of the book. 4.) The honorable Honakura. Easily my most favorite character in this series. Imagine the combination of Yoda and Grumpy Old Men. I'm telling you, it works.
Next Up: I'm still working on question sets, so no Sunday Night Spotlight this week. As far as reading goes, I'm itching for a book with a strong hook. I will in all likelihood forgo finishing this trilogy, for now, in favor of something heavy. I'm thinking of Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind or Wolfe's Book of the New Sun. We'll see.