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Night of the Swarm by Robert V.S. Redick – review
The mighty centuries old ship, Chathrand is long gone . . .
At the centre of an infernal forest there is clearing. Above it looms a seven hundred foot tall fragment of a vast tower. At its base, a group of friends. Exhausted, terrified. They stand around the body of a sorcerer, Arunis. In his wizened hand lies the Nilstone.
The Nilstone. An ancient artifact that has unleashed the Night of the Swarm; an ever growing cloud of darkness that is, even now, racing across the world of Alifros, threatening annihilation to all.
The only thing that can banish the Swarm is to take the Nilstone out of this world. But to do this the friends, Pazel, Thasha, Neeps and the mage Ramachni, must make a perilous voyage down the River of Shadows to where it leaves the world. Only there, far from any hope of rescue, can the Nilstone be cast away.
But the Sorceress Macadra is hunting for the Nilstone as well. This is not the end . . .
What I expected: As the fourth installment, I expected a continuation of the journey that is the Voyage of the Chathrand. I expected our favorite characters to be pitted against more obstacles as they finish off their journey. As with the first three books, I expected a lot of changes in the dynamics of the group as loyalties and strengths are tested, trials endured and new information to be shared.
What I got: I got exactly what I expected. It was a lovely adventure with familiar friends and new faces and interesting physical and mental obstacles. The core group of friends and adventurers changed a bit as individuals left the group, for one reason or another, and new ones joined, which changed a bit of the dynamics but overall was a good thing.
What I enjoyed: I enjoyed the adventure, following around the friends on the final leg of their journey. I enjoyed the final little conceit that I will refuse to spoil here – just know that those who enjoyed the parts starring Felthrup the rat will like this last little twist.
What I did not: While there were many things the group had to go through in getting from here to there, it felt as if things were just a bit too easy even though it was a rough trip, as always, it seemed that there was always an answer at hand and it seemed that the book was longer than the journey. This may be the cumulative effect of all four books or our group of adventurers having endured some of the harshest parts in the beginning. Hard to say. This was a very minor quibble though.
Cover Talk: The cover is rather generic to me. Sure, the symbolism fits the book but for me, it is too dark and anonymous. There isn’t anything there that calls to me and says “Hey, look at me, I’m interesting!” The author has a drawing of the decks of the Chathrand on his website (go see it here, it is very fun), and personally I think using something like that as a background with one or two of the characters in front would have been much more interesting. Especially if they had included some of the more interesting and different characters like Felthrum the intelligent rat. Art directors? If you need some help, I’m just an email away…;-)
Recommend: Yes. The only people I would not recommend this to are those who have yet to read the first three, as they would be pretty much lost and confused as to who, what, where, when, how, and why. Otherwise, the story comes to a satisfying conclusion so is recommended to anyone who has read any of the first three.