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Crown of Renewal by Elizabeth Moon – Review
Eight kingdoms in danger, an enemy that cannot die…
Count Jed Drin has received a grisly message. His son, Filis, is dead, brutally killed by Alured the Black – the first move in his plan to take the eight kingdoms.
But Filis managed to send his own message, telling of the dark forces that control Alured, warning of something more than human behind the man’s eyes…
Meanwhile, Dorrin Verrakai, last of a long line of magelords, must forever leave the home she loves in order to protect powerful magic relics created by her ancestors. For their power is desired both by Alured, and by the dark elves infesting the kingdoms. Searching for answers, her friend and King, Kieri, considers waking the magelords from their ancient slumber…
What I expected: I expected a well written continuation of the story of the Eight Kingdoms. I also expected this to be the final book with all of the hanging threads tied off. While it is possible that the story ends here, there are more things that could be continued, without a doubt. I raced through the first four books in order to have the whole story before reading this one so that I could review it. So I expected to get more of what I enjoyed in the first four books – heroes fighting the bad guys for the good of all everywhere (including themselves!).
What I got: Exactly what I expected after having read the first four books of the series. There is much less world building going on here, as the readers are familiar with the world, though the author does do a touch of recap for certain situations to keep readers up on what has happened before.
What I liked: I’m a sucker for selfless acts of heroism, and these books are full of them. I’m also fond of people, especially women and minorities (represented here by those able to use magic, those who worship certain gods, and those that live differently) overcoming the odds stacked against them to get ahead, help others, and pretty much be badass do-gooders. Throw in a “reformed” thief, and I’m definitely hooked!
What I did not: As much as I adore heroes and people doing good deeds, etc., I find that a very large cast of them seems to be a bit much. I don’t think this was an issue of too many POVs but that the POVs were almost all exemplary heroes, and it got to be a bit too much like having too much cake. This was a minor quibble, though; only those who enjoy anti-heroes over real heroes would be seriously annoyed by this.
Cover Talk: Meh. It matches well with the previous covers, so it has a nice cohesive branding, but it really puts me in mind of the 1970’s and isn’t something that would draw me in to want to buy and read. I originally chose this book to read and review because of the author’s name.
Recommendation: Heroic epic fantasy fans will be all over this series, and if you have read the previous four books this one will be on your to read list already. If you haven’t heard of the series and enjoy heroic epic fantasy, give the first, Oath of Fealty, a try. If you are not really a heroic epic fantasy fan but have loved Moon’s scifi adventures, you might want to give this series a try.