After having read The Deed of Paksenarrion trilogy in less than a week last summer, followed by a few days for the first in the series (Oath of Fealty), I struggled to get into this one, although in fairness I had gone back to uni (where I tend not to find enough time to read).
What I have found, having returned to the series is that it has moved more from the sword and sorcery of the original trilogy to more ‘epic’ fantasy, which in large part revolves around the inter-related politics of the nations of Tsaia, Lyonya and Pargun. While I tend to enjoy more complex epic fantasies incorporating large casts of distinct characters, my feelings about Kings of the North are distinctly mixed.
At no point did I feel that the book was a struggle to read, with the writing being as great as I’ve come to expect from Elizabeth Moon. Alongside this however, I’ve struggled to pin down what exactly makes me uncomfortable about the book. I feel that, to a certain extent, nothing of massive or lasting import seemed to happen, as many of the story-lines were tied up by the end of the book. While this has the advantage of leaving me satisfied with the book on its own, at the same time it has me wondering how the series will be stretched further without seeming tenuous.
That said, the book in and of itself is very good, with all the ingredients required to make a great epic fantasy book. As well as this, I massively enjoyed the chance to follow many of the characters I had grown to love in the earlier books, and look forward to starting the next in the series, Echoes of Betrayal.
‘Kings of the North’ by Elizabeth Moon is the second in the Paladin’s Legacy Series.