This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
(Description nicked from B&N.com.)
“For nearly two years, Cade has been rejecting his Fae gift, his prescient Elsewhens–simply refusing to see or experience them. But the strain is driving a wedge between him and his theater troupe, Touchstone, and making him erratic on stage and off. It takes his best friend Mieka to bully Cade into accepting the visions again. But when Cade finally looks into the possible futures, he sees a royal castle blowing up, though his vision does not tell him who is responsible. But he knows that if it is in his visions, he can take action to stop it from happening. And when he finally discovers the truth, he takes the knowledge to the only man in the Kingdom who would believe him: his deadly enemy the Archduke.”
My understanding is that this is going to be a five-book series, and if so, then this book is the next-to-last one. And you might think that it would consist of nothing but set-up for the finale, but you’d be wrong. It takes a bit of time to realize it, but the more you get into the book, the more you see how Rawn is already drawing together many of the threads spun out in the earlier novels.
Much of what plays out here is political in nature. It’s interesting to see politics from the point of view of a theater troupe, but it works quite well here. Theater is bound up with magic, magic is bound up with the non-human races, and those races are the focal point of long-standing hatred. It’s a long game for the characters to play, but it’s fascinating to watch. Touchstone and the other troupes move in and out of royal courts and noble houses alike, and their observations help weave all the disparate threads together.
As always, the heart of this story is the relationship between Cade and Mieka, two of Touchstone’s members. Both young men in their twenties, the pair are that rare kind of friend who truly love each other and have each other’s best interests at heart. They only stumble when they can’t figure out how to express their concerns when they see something going wrong. By this book, the two have worked through many of their hiccups, although they still clash from time to time. In fact, the entire group has a more settled feel, which is good given how much political story has to be presented.
The only reason I think readers might not like this novel is that its pace is much slower than many other books out there. Those who appreciate good, solid worldbuilding and an intricately detailed setting will take to this novel the most. Personally, I adore this series, as I think it fills a niche that few other authors work in: a tale in which where the story takes place is just as important as who it’s about. That’s not to say that other authors don’t take care to present great settings, but for me, thinking about this story is inextricably bound up with where it happens.
And now I have another year to wait before the final book. Ah well… good things are worth waiting for. Now’s a good time to start this series if you haven’t already, and I heartily recommend that you do.