Friday, 16 October 2009

A Time of Exile - Katharine Kerr

A Time of Exile is the first book in the second Deverry quartet. Disappointing in comparison to the first four books.

This book opens a number of years after the events in Daggerspell. Rhodry is getting older, but his Westfolk genes have given him long life and people are starting to mutter dweomer when they look at him. He stages his own death so that he is able to slip away gracefully from his life in Aberwyn. He meets Jill again when he heads into the lands of the Westfolk, the first time he has seen her since she left him for the dweomer. She is now a master, and refuses to consider the idea of a relationship between them.

Apart from those slim pickings in modern times, the rest of the novel takes place in the past. In this book the Westfolk and Aderyn take centre stage. I love Aderyn as a character - he is so calm and wise, and yet so very human. His doomed relationship with Dallandra was heart aching.

My average star rating for this book came from the fact that two of the subplots I found less than interesting. The Guardians are extremely fey, and I didn't particularly like either Elassario or Evandar. The periods of time that Dallandra spent with them was of necessity very dreamlike, but it affected the pacing of the story a great deal.

I also found the blue sprite that has hounded Rhodry through all of his many lives extremely tiresome. Jill's jealousy about his relationship with the sprite gave me hope that they could find a reconciliation, but it seems it is not to be, which saddens me. I liked Jill a great deal more when she was a lively, merry silver dagger following her love. As she has grown in dweomer, she has become hard and lacking in forgiveness and compassion. This is a shame - one of my favourite characters is now someone I don't really care for.

The final paragraph of the book was extremely intriguing and will guarantee that I read further!

Kerr's writing is still very competent, and her characters interesting to read about. I like the way that in each of the books you never know how much time you will spend in the present or in the past.

All in all, the poorer elements of this book would not be enough to discourage me from the rest of the series and I look forward to the next one.

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