Son of Avonar
by Carol Berg
Reviewed by Ruby
Seri, a daughter of a Duke, sister to the King's Champion, is living in exile. Ten years ago her husband and son were killed for sorcery and her friends were put to death for helping the sorcerer. Only her title and her brother's plea to the King kept Seri alive. Not wanting anything to do with her brother, who murdered her newborn child, she left her home and never looked back.
For a decade she's been living a peasant's life, made harsher by the King's endless war to unite the Four Realms under his rule. Her past suddenly catches up with her as a mute, half-mad, swordsman is thrust into her life. Wanting nothing to do with the bad tempered bully she is all set to throw him out of her cottage until he turns out to be a sorcerer. Trapped again with magic, Seri finds old memories that she's held at bay surfacing along with the emotions they conger.
She discovers that Darzid, her brother's right hand man, is hunting the mute stranger along with three dangerous priest with soulless eyes.
With her friends that she made over the past ten years along with old and new ones, Seri keeps the stranger away from the priests, called the Zhid, his enemies from his home world. He was sent to Seri's world, not only to save it, but his own as well, by keeping the Bridge of D'Arnath connecting the two. It seems, however that Seri is the only one who wants him to accomplish his goal.
With the Zhid dodging their every move, Seri and the others help the man get his voice back, but his memories remain curiously blank. The only clues to his goal are from his clumsy Guide/cook and a 450 years old journal, from Seri's husband's people.
Each day, the Zhid get closer and Seri feels more and more like see knows the stranger, that he is almost like her dead husband. It's only when they reach their goal does she realize that the Zhid weren't chasing, they were following, hoping to destroy the Bridge between the two worlds once and for all.
This book would've been so much more enjoyable without the endless pages of flashbacks. Why are they used so much? They are so incredibly annoying. Well, if they are actually useful they aren't annoying, but we didn't learn much from the 150 pages of flashbacks except for Seri and Karon's life together.
I suppose, if you liked Karon, then it would've been interesting, but I didn't like him; I found his a very dull character. The only useful information that I got out of the flashbacks was that Karon found a book with a map to the ancient J'Ettanne stronghold. The only interesting tidbit was about Darzid, but that was never touched upon again. I hope it's elaborated in another book. The rest of the flashbacks I didn't care about. I couldn't care less about how Seri was engaged to the soon-to-be king, Evard, or how she met Karon, or how she found out he was a wizard, or how they fell in love, or about Evard plotting to become king, or how Karon was found out and captured and killed. And there's even more to it. We already know that Karon was killed, as was her son. I don't know why the author decided to elaborate so much about their past.
Once you get into the story, about Seri and D'Natheil (the mute stranger), it is very good and well written. The one thing I didn't understand is how the J'Ettanne forgot about the Bridge they used to cross into the Four Realms. I mean, okay it was a few thousand years ago but still, there are a few things that you shouldn't forget. 'Giant Magic Bridge to Another World' would be top on my list.
Anyway, once I got past the first 250ish pages where 150 were flashbacks I couldn't put they book down. It was getting there that was the hard part. If only the author had used a different method of giving us information without endless flashbacks it would've been an excellent book.