Guardians of the Lost by Margaret Weis and Tracey Hickman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Guardians of the Lost is the second book of the Sovereign Stone trilogy. (See my review of Book 1 here: Well of Darkness) This story takes place 200 years after the events of the first book, with Loerem torn by war and strife. Prince Dagnarus, who has extended his life since becoming a Vrykyl, has amassed an army of vicious half-beast warriors to reclaim the throne he feels he was cheated of 200 years ago. He has also added to his ranks of Void magic born Vrykyl. Dagnarus is still searching for the four pieces of the Sovereign Stone, still believing he was cheated out of its possession by his brother. Gustav, a Dominion Lord, learns the location of the human portion of the Sovereign Stone and tries to take it to the Council of Dominion Lords, only to be pursued and attacked by a Vrykyl. Gustav manages to defeat the Vrykyl but not before he is mortally wounded. He entrusts the piece of the Stone to a pecwae and a Trevinici youth, enjoining them to deliver it to an elfen Dominion Lord so that she may take it to the Council. The group sets out across the different lands of Loerem, pursued by Vrykyl and barely ahead of Dagnarus and his conquering army.
As a second installment, this is quite well done. Most of the backstory and detail outline was set up in the first book, so the plot here can move along fairly well. There are narrative breaks, some of which seem rather dragged out, but in main, the pacing is good.
Characters are interesting and well-drawn. There are representatives of all the four races of Loerem in the main character set, with the exception of the orks, who in this book, seem relegated to minor roles. World-building is as well done as any of the authors' works, and the magic system is interesting in its association of one of each of the four Elements with each of the four races. Two of the characters in particular bring a bit of humor to the story, a nice touch in what is a rather dark tale.
Where the first book basically finished its story, with the addition of the set up for this one, Guardians of the Lost ends on a somewhat ominous note, with the main quest as yet unfulfilled. Even so, the story is satisfying.
I did find it a bit slow reading in spots, but overall, was intrigued enough with the characters and some of the other plot elements to finish. I look forward to reading the third book and finding out what happens.
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