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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

“The Horsemen's Gambit” by David B Coe (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

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David B. Coe's successful fantasy series, Winds of the Forelands, introduced readers to a different world and many loveable characters that were easy to connect with. Blood of the Southlands, a continuation of the Winds series, takes a few familiar faces and mixes them in with a whole new cast of characters for a great new adventure. “The Horsemen's Gambit”, the second of three books, takes readers to the Southlands which is on the verge of war...

In Winds of the Forelands, David introduced the people of the Qirsi and the Eandi. The Qirsi are a magical race who possess at least one of seven different kinds of magics, while the Eandi are a noble people without magic who are known for their strength and fighting. Exceptions include the Y'Qatt which are Qirsi that refuse to perform magic due to religious beliefs, and the MettaiEandi villagers trained in the ways of blood magic. The Qirsi and Eandi have never gotten along with each other and the only reason there is peace across the Southlands is because of the toll that war was taking on both sides.

In “The Sorcerers’ Plague”, book one of Blood of the Southlands, a plague that only targets the Qirsi has ripped across the Southlands leaving devastation and destruction in its path. Lici, an elderly Mettai is responsible for the creation of this terrible spell. By cursing baskets she was able to spread this illness quickly and discreetly throughout the land.

The Horsemen's Gambit” explores the direct results of this curse that continues to spread throughout the land via the points of view of several different Southlands inhabitants. In particular, readers follow Lici and two Mettai in their search for the cursed baskets in hopes of stopping the further spread of this devastating curse, while another subplot involves Grinsa and his family who are being held almost like prisoners by a sect of the Qirsi. To regain their freedom, Grinsa goes on a quest to find the person responsible for this curse. The last storyline concerns an Eandi sovereignty as they learn of the curse and realize that this is the perfect opportunity to finish the Blood Wars that started centuries ago...

As with any book that is the middle volume of a trilogy, “The Horsemen's Gambit” bridges the major events of the first novel to what can only be assumed as the epic battle to follow in the third and concluding book. That being the case, “The Horsemen's Gambit” was actually very slow moving for a while, and repeated a lot of information that was covered in previous volumes. This can be a great thing for those that need a refresher or who haven’t read the previous novels. However, those already familiar with the Winds of the Forelands and “The Sorcerers’ Plague”, might find it hard to keep going over stuff we already know. That said, the pace does pick up about midway through the book, introducing a lot more suspense and adventure, so enduring the slow beginning eventually rewards readers with a great reading experience.

Another aspect of the book which served as both a positive and a negative were the characters, in particular how the story was constantly jumping from one viewpoint to the next. While the idea of having so many interesting characters and action going on could be appealing to some, I personally found it hard to become attached to any single character due to this writing style, because as soon as I was starting to form a bond with someone, a completely different character was brought in and distracted me.

Fortunately, while the characters lacked attachment, the author more than made up for it with the plot and adventure aspect of the storyline, which all came together very nicely. There are many adventures to follow, intertwining subplots to keep your attention, and just enough answers to keep readers satisfied while also leaving them wanting to know what happens next.

Overall, David B. Coe’sThe Horsemen’s Gambit” embraces many of the attributes that epic fantasy is known for: mulitple characters, intertwining plotlines, a quest, and magic. In short, I anxiously await the third book in the Blood of the Southlands and can't wait to see how all of the conflicts will be wrapped up...

5 comments:

Jeff C said...

Nice review, Cindy! I agree with you..i thought the second half of the book was better, and built-up a nice momentum going into book 3. The final book should be really good.

Cindy said...

Thanks Jeff! I was really impressed with the whole series (I've been on hold at the library with the first series forever).

It really did pick up in the second half, I almost didn't enjoy it but I'm not one that gives up on books.

I just really wish there was more "buzz" about the Coe and his writing I hardly see him mentioned anywhere besides your blog.

Dark Wolf said...

I have to admit that I haven't read anything written by David B. Coe. But after reading your review I certainly have to check at least this series. Thank you Cindy :)

ediFanoB said...

After reading your nice review I checked my book list and to my surprise I have added the books last year. So far none of these books made it to my to buy list. I made a note to add The Wind of the Forelands series to my 2010 to buy list.

Cindy said...

Thanks for the nice comments!

I was really impressed with the whole series, the only recommendation that I can give is if you want the "first" series to be a surprise not to read Blood of the Southlands series, but then again I'm sure there are surprises that weren't revealed in the series.

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