Casket of Souls
by Lynn Flewelling
Reviewed by Ruby
With the war seeming endless, there is plenty of complaining going on in Skala as Seregil and Alec soon discover. But there are factions that are trying to take it a step further and the duo are faced with not one, but two cabals. One is trying to get the heir on the throne and one is supporting the Queen’s youngest sister, Klia. Seregil and Alec are soon rubbing elbows with royalty while trying to find out how far up to food chain the cabals go and what they are actually planning.
To make matters worse, there is a new sickness spreading throughout to city. It causes people to collapse into unconsciousness with no symptoms and no seeming cause. The infected just fade away after a few days and there is nothing that any of the healers can do about it. With the threat of quarantine hanging over their heads they must work fast to find out what is behind this before the city revolts.
I was very surprised when I was reading this book. It was way more political than I am used to. There were actual plots and dealings behind the scenes and so on. It wasn’t always all that enjoyable to read but it was different from the usual format.
I found it a little odd, however that the two plots weren’t exactly simultaneous. The first half of the book was about the cabals with bits about the sickness here are there and as soon as the guys start investigating it full out the cabal storyline just faded into the background and seemed to peter out, with only a slight overlap. I also found it very annoying that we knew from the beginning what was happening with the “plague”, so when Seregil and Alec started to investigate it was like watching them running around like chickens with their heads cut off because they were going the wrong way and even overlooking obvious things. Okay, so we knew they were obvious because we knew what was going on, but still; if we had discovered it along with the guys it would have been more entertaining and we wouldn’t have had to read chapters of them investing the wrong thing.
I am still waiting for the first book of this series without any continuity errors. True, they were minor but it still annoying that the author can’t remember that Price Kor already re-established the Watchers after the Queen disbanded them. They weren’t as bad as Kor’s random personality shift, forgetting that Magyana was exiled, or Alec’s sudden promotion from ‘Sir’ to ‘Lord’, but it is still frustrating that the author can’t remember what she wrote from book to book.
At least the style of writing of the characters were still on point because those are what make these books the most enjoyable to me.
Reviewed by Coral
I did not understand the actions and decisions Seregil and Alec made throughout most of this book.
They said that the reason they didn’t turn over the known members of the political cabals was because they weren’t sure how far-reaching they really were and couldn’t be sure they had identified all the members. But the members who would have been arrested would have been questioned. Along with being questioned, the guards would have had full access to their letters and houses – not just the quick stolen moments Seregil and Alec had – so that they could have learnt just how far deep it did run. As it was, leaving them free didn’t accomplish anything either. They didn’t prevent the failed assassination or any of the subsequent successful reprisal killings. It especially doesn’t make any sense to leave the conspirators free when they thought there was clear and present danger to members of the royal house.
Mysteries can work even if you know who the killer/perpetrator is before the investigator, but it didn’t work for me in the case of the plague. Especially since, to my mind, there were a couple of times when Seregil, Alec and Thero should have been more observant in noticing certain things. At one point, they ignored what seemed to be a pretty big clue!.
I didn’t understand why the people behind the plague had it strike people differently. Leaving people to linger would draw just as much attention as people just dropping dead.
Overall, I didn’t like or hate this book.