Sunday 2 December 2007

Children of the Blood - Michelle Sagara West


Second in the Sundered Quadrology, Children of the Blood Begins three hundred years after the events of Into the Dark Lands (Book 1). The last fortress of the Light - Dagothrin - is about to fall. And as Dagothrin falls, Sara lies sleeping, waiting to be wakened.

We see the events of Children of the Blood mainly through the eyes of Darin, the last survivor of the line of Culverne. Stefanos was present at the fall of Dagothrin but he couldn't bring himself to kill Darin, seeing something in him that reminded him of Sara. We first meet Darin as a very young child, living a relatively carefree life in Dagothrin. Through him we experience the life of the newly enslaved. MSW does not sugar coat his suffering or that of the other slaves. One scene in particular is quite distressing and had me in tears. This part is heartbreaking, bleak and difficult to read. But I think it is important because it illustrates how quickly the Dark can break not only an individual but also a people.

Ultimately Darvin is saved when he comes to work at the castle of Lord Darclan (Stefanos). He is put in charge of the care of a young noblewoman who lies sleeping in the castle (Sara).

Again I found I delineated the book into sections. With the first part being Darin's slavery, the second being his time with Stefanos and Sara, and the third part being when time finally runs out and the High Priest and Servants of the Dark come for Sara.

Sara is perhaps the weaker of the three main characters in this story. She believes through much of Children of the Blood, that she is a noblewoman who lost her memory during a boating accident. It's interesting to see the aspects of her character that remain true even though she doesn't know who she is.And to see the spell that Stefanos risked everything to perform slowly unravel.

Stefanos I found fascinating. In the three hundred years he has changed. He is melancholy in that he realizes despite all his machinations his time with Sara is running out. And that perhaps he made a mistake, instead of sharing a mortal life with his beloved, he has had no life with her at all. He still has the arrogance all the Servants and Priests of the Dark seem to have - I can't help wondering if that will be their downfall, because they can't conceive they will be defeated.

Ironically after the confrontation between Stefanos and the Lady of Elliath at the end of the last book when he swore to himself he would never do as she had done, he chooses to pierce the veil of the future as she did. I believe he has come to a better understanding of what love is and the sacrifices you sometimes have to make.

Although I didn't find Darin quite as engaging a protagonist as Sara I warmed to him throughout the story. Through him we learn how hard it is, when you have lost all hope and had trust stripped away from you, to risk yourself again.

I think this is definitely a book that would improve with a re-read. The first part is very powerful, and as a consequence the middle part where Darin is getting to know about Sara and about who he is - he comes into his powers as a Priest of Lernan - is much slower. I think during a re-read I would appreciate much more the sense of time running out in the middle section, the feeling that this is a respite for Sara, for Stefanos and for Darin, because as long as Sara and Darin survive, the Dark hasn't completely won. As we come towards the end the pace of the story accelerates, you can feel the time running out and how Stefanos and Sara are holding onto individual moments.
Together, by mutual silent consent, they walked toward Sara's chambers. There, in the curtained light, they held each other against the coming of the night.

At the end of the story Stefanos believeing Sargoth's (Second of the Dark Sundered) lie retreats from the world. Sara and Darvin have left and the battle between Light and Dark will continue in the next book.


scooper said...

I think I'm gonna love this series. It sounds emotional and complicated, something she seems to excel at.

Why, oh why can't I get a sudden windfall of cash so that I can go on a book binge?

LesleyW said...

She definitely sucks you into the world. Once I've finished the Sundered series, I'm going to dig out the Cast by book that I've got in my TBR pile.

kitkabbit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kitkabbit said...

Where did you manage to pick up a copy of this, I can't find one anywhere for a reasonable price!!
even from the publisher!
(kitkabbit at gmail dot com)

LesleyW said...

I originally bought Children of the Blood quite close to the release date. For some reason Book 2 of the series is really hard to get hold of. I was checking on Amazon UK when I did my review. And book 1 still seems to be available, reasonably priced second hand, books 3 and 4 are still available to buy new. I don't know why Book 2 is the hardest to get hold of.

Ironically I waited until this re-release (from Benbella) to buy the books as the original printing of the series was so expensive to buy second hand. Now it looks as if the re-release is going the same way.

kitkabbit said...

finally got books 2 & 4 of the sundered series- they are back in stock at benbenbella! hooray!!