Ever since the first Wayfarer Redemption trilogy, when Axis lied to, betrayed and abandoned Faraday, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with the work of Sara Douglass. As in life, Ms. Douglass’ characters are rarely either wholly good or evil. From Axis, Starman and former StarGod, hero of the first three books* who did his own share of nasty things; to Gorgrael, Axis’ twisted half-brother and the original villain of the story, who while evil was clearly shaped by the desperate loneliness of being outcast and disfigured.
At the end, I am simply unsure whether I love this book or hate it with all my heart. I do know that I can’t wait to get my hands on the next one. The sheer quantity of mistakes the characters make is in direct proportion to their human reality. If they spoke more to each other, forgave more, listened more… They would have no trouble defeating the enemy and winning the day. However, how often do these things happen in the real world? Mostly not at all. Two people who love each other deeply but have hurt each other beyond measure, much as Ishbel and Maxel, have little chance of having a happily ever after in our reality.
That is the element that Sara Douglass brings to her world. She pours in more than the ounce of genuine humanity that we see in other fantasy novels. You can be confident with most books that all will be pretty much as it should in the end. The good guys win; the bad guys are defeated. That’s the way things are supposed to go, right? Not so with these. Douglass weaves as much tragedy into her work as she does happiness. There is no guarantee of a neatly tied up ending here. The work is dirty, messy, and just as like to leave you heart sore as any other thing in life.
*The story is published differently in Ms. Douglass’ home of Australia than it is here in the US. As I am unfamiliar with the Aussie version of things, I refer only to the US versions. The original ‘trilogy’ of The Wayfarer’s Redemption, Enchanter, and StarMan; followed by the subsequent ‘trilogy’ of Sinner, Pilgrim, and Crusader. All six books have been dubbed The Wayfarer’s Redemption series here in the US.
©2007 Kiara / Waiting for Fairies. To read the full review on the Waiting for Fairies website please click on this link.