by Katherine Kerr
Reviewed by Ruby
In the heart of the Capitol City of the Kazrak, Idres Warkannan and his associates are planning a rebellion. With all the pieces in place they are only missing one last thing: the Prince and leader Jerzo Khan. The tyrannical king’s younger brother was exiled into the Cantons, a land across the Rift, and the only way to get to him is to travel the wild lands filled with the nomadic Tribes of the Comnee as well as the Cha’Meech - an intelligent and dangerous lizard species. The only person they can trust to get them to Jerzo is Soutan the Sorcerer, who is a very shady individual. Unfortunately, they have no choice as the Chosen – a group of brutal secret police- has sent one of their members after the prince and Warkannan has to reach him first or the rebellion will end before it gets started.
Zayn is that Chosen, and he has joined one of the Comnee tribes in order to move inconspicuously across the Rift. But the Comnee’s way of life soon starts clouding his judgement and he is no longer sure what he is supposed to do. To add to his confusion he falls for Ammadin, the Spirit Rider of the Comnee. She sees him as a puzzle to be solved but has larger problems to deal with. A Cha’Meech has contacted her with a lot of unanswered questions, which is pulling her away from her Tribe.
As the paths of all of these people converge it will change the very face of the planet.
The main problem I had with this book was that it took forever to get interesting. It was almost 400 pages in before I actually cared about anything that was happening. And that was due to the fact that very little happened. After the first few chapters where the main characters were introduced and got their goals in order the story seemed to crawl. All anyone seemed to do was travel. Warkannan, Soutan and Arkazo (Idres’ nephew) travel to get to Jerzo; Ammi and Zayn wander around with the Comnee. No one seems to be getting anywhere. They just travel and discuss the differences in the cultures. When things start getting interesting it was mostly exposition which answered all the questions that had been annoying me for hundreds of pages but also seemed to pick apart the cultures that the author spent most of the book describing. It was very weird.
Most of the characters were alright, but I did find Ammadin very wooden and unrelatable. Also Soutan was transparent. He was supposed to be a charmer that got dozens of people to follow him but he was so obviously a villain that it made no sense.
This whole book was just so disappointing. What I was expecting was a rebellion and instead I got exposition and a theological debate. Even the ending was tied up too neatly. It was not at all what I was expecting. It was too bad really, because the last 200 pages were really interesting but still didn’t amount to much.