Lion of Senet

by Jennifer Fallon

Reviewed by Coral

Now I know what a lot of people think of soap operas, that they're stupid and vapid and poorly acted and on and on. But I watch them and I like them. I'm only mentioning this because as a soap opera fan, who sometimes misses a year's worth of episodes at a time, I'm used to remembering a large number of characters and intricately complicated backstories, and can fall back into the storylines almost right away. I only bring this up in contrast to Jennifer Fallon's Lion of Senet.

There's nearly 40 characters introduced to us rapid fire in the first 4 chapters (i.e. the first 30 pages!). I found I couldn't keep track of all of them and needed to make myself a little cheat sheet to remind myself who everyone was. First time I've ever had to do that, and I've been reading books a long time.

I'll be up front with you right away here, I didn't make it past my 100 page cutoff mark. The confusion brought about by all these characters, too many characters I found stupid or hateful introduced too quickly, was too much for me and I called it quits.

What this story is basically about is a world, Ranadon, that's orbited by two suns. The people of the planet enjoy normal lives, some turning from religion and embracing science, until disaster strikes. One day, both of their planet's suns set, leaving their world in darkness.

This "Age of Shadows" brings war to the planet, as minor king Johan Thorn rebels against High King Antonov Latanya's assertion that turning their back on the Goddess has brought about this catastrophe. Joining Johan in his fight is Morna Provin, a wife and a mother, who abandons her family to join the cause. Only, when she realizes Johan has no chance to win, she runs back to her husband.

We're not told how long the Age of Shadows lasted, but it is over now, though the people are always in fear of another one. Their fears are not mollified any when a massive volcanic eruption triggers a tidal wave and rocks many parts of the empire.  Unfortunately for exile Johan his ship is caught in the wave and he is left a prisoner in enemy hands. While his people desperately seek to rescue him or kill him before he breaks, Antonov and his mistress Belagren desperately seek the answers only Johan can provide.

Man, I'm not even sure if that was the plot. Most of it was so convoluted, outlined so fast. It's not a race! I could have used some time to get drawn into the world before being inundated with facts I couldn't keep straight. What I do know is that I hate Morna. Runs off, leaves her husband and son behind for a cause, then isn't even brave enough to die for it, instead crawling back to beg forgiveness, pregnant with her lover's child. Then she acts all righteous and indignant, walking out on banquets thrown in Antonov's honor, making pointed and biting comments. Like she's some victim. Hey, you had a choice! You made it when you walked away from your family! How about trying to not get them killed by a pissed off Antonov?

Her husband is just as pathetic. Should have killed her when she came back to him. We're supposed to feel sorry for her I guess, but I don't. She's a bitch and I wished her dead every time I read her name.

Another character I hated, though don't ask me what she has to do with the plot because I don't know, is Marquel. Okay, maybe I don't hate her so much as find her storyline ridiculous. She's a 17-year-old whore who sells herself out to men pretending she's a 13-year-old virgin. I mean, that's just a little bit unbelievable. You'd think at least one of her clients would notice she's not so much a virgin anymore.

There was nothing about the story or the characters that interested me, nothing that made me want to keep reading, so I'm not. No regrets. Another series I'm giving a pass to.


Grade: F