It will take me a week or two to get caught up on things, I think, in terms of posting about what I've read thus far. I hope that you'll find time, too, to share what you're working on.
1. Storm Constantine- "Crown of Silence"
"Crown of Silence" is book two in Storm's 'Magravandias' Trilogy. Book one- which I read last year- is "Sea Dragon Heir." (As an aside, I keep wondering if "Sea Dragon Heir" as a title was meant to be a play on words; you'd have to read the set to understand why. It makes sense in a direct context, but because I believe authors often have an entire series essentially mapped out in their minds before beginning, she may have known where she was going. That would have allowed her to make an inside joke of the title and to enjoy it for a bit.)
Storm's writing never fails to enchant me, and every book of hers that I have read causes me to go researching something. That's always a good sign, since it's generally me wanting to know more about a custom or religion that gets referred to. There are a lot of insights to be gained that way, and her work seems to contain a lot of her own insights. She was born to tell stories and convey messages within them.
The problem I had with this book came from the editing. I'm fairly certain I stopped a minimum of seven times because of a grammatical issue, spelling error, etc. I don't consider this to be a flaw on the author's part, as when we write, our emphasis should be on conveying our message first, and the structure second. We all make mistakes at times when drafting; there are editors for a reason. The author's English, so I did consider whether or not what I was reading was a difference in language use or phrasing. The mistakes I mentioned were not, as far as I could determine, due to such. Much of what I've said here carries over to the third book, as well.
The underlying structure of the trilogy is that of elementally gifted mages, political alliances and commentary, and the influences of rulers, religious leaders and seemingly neutral individuals within a shifting fantasy world.
Second books in trilogies often seem like they are merely vessels for transitioning from book one to book three. They tend to be missing their own, complete inner story. Usually, I'm thinking about that when I'm reading the middle book, too, and that makes it more obvious. With this tale, I didn't even realize that until I sat down to write this post.
Recommended, although you should read book one first. ;)
2. Storm Constantine- "The Way of Light"
Please see above regarding basic plot outline. Also, take note that the editorial issues were, at least, consistent.
Another complete story, so to speak, with the summary and resolutions needed for a final book. No lag, no glaring errors in world-building logic, and plenty of excellent insights into political power plays. A lovely melding of relgious viewpoints, as well.
The only thing I felt was lacking in the series was depth in some of the characters. That may have been because I was expecting to feel what they were feeling- something that happened to me with almost everyone written into the Wraeththu trilogy. I would not say this is a failing on Constantine's part. The bar was just set so high by my reaction to the first set of books I read, lending my opinion to fall short due to expectations.
In fact, I would not hesitate to lend these books to someone who is new to fantasy over even the best of Lackey or McCaffrey's works. Be mindful that I am not comparing the three authors at all, and continue to enjoy what each offers. My point is that Storm Constantine is more likely to hit home with people I feel deeply compatible with.
Currently reading an anthology called, "Faeries," as well as C.S. Lewis' "The Problem of Pain." Oh, and "Living Well With a Hidden Disability," by Stacy Taylor.