As a young man, Nevyn’s inability to choose starts a series of events that leads to the death of his betrothed, her brother, and another man. At his beloved’s grave he swears to never rest until he has righted the wrongs he caused. The gods accept his vow, and he is gifted with immortality until he has fulfilled his promise. Daggerspell follows Nevyn’s attempts to pay the debts he owes as the spirits of the three people to whom he is spiritually tied are born and reborn.
Set in a pseudo-Celtic world, this first book in the Deverry series is an intriguing tale of love and redemption. The characters are interesting, and the central role of reincarnation provides an innovative variation on what would otherwise be a standard fantasy novel, complete with magical elves and dwarven blacksmiths. The system of magic, called dweomer, is well-detailed and complex, complete with restrictions and consequences for actions.
Daggerspell has a somewhat slow start, exacerbated by the need to keep track of characters with fairly similar names who appear repeatedly in different timelines with different names which are also similar to previous names of other characters. This made it difficult to follow who was reincarnated into whom. Daggerspell would have been greatly aided by a quasi-genealogy chart that showed who was whom throughout the different time periods.
Also problematic was an overreliance on archaic sounding dialect, which felt clunky and overworked. However, once the jumping between timelines settles down into the main action, the characters are deep and absorbing, and I felt myself emotionally connecting to their lives. Daggerspell comes to a satisfying conclusion while still serving as the start of a new series. Kerr writes with a beautifully dense prose and displays innovative world building and sympathetic characterization.
Though the thought of embarking on a storyline that already has ten books in it is a bit overwhelming, Katharine Kerr‘s talent definitely induces me to pick up the next book in the Deverry saga.
Deverry — (1986-2009) Publisher: Even as a young girl, Jill was a favorite of the magical, mysterious Wildfolk, who appeared to her from their invisible realm. Little did she know her extraordinary friends represented but a glimpse of a forgotten past and a fateful future. Four hundred years-and many lifetimes-ago, one selfish young lord caused the death of two innocent lovers. Then and there he vowed never to rest until he’d rightened that wrong — and laid the foundation for the lives of Jill and all those whom she would hold dear: her father, the mercenary soldier Cullyn; the exiled berserker Rhodry Maelwaedd; and the ancient and powerful herbman Nevyn, all bound in a struggle against darkness… and a quest to fulfill the destinies determined centuries ago. Here in this newly revised edition comes the incredible novel that began one of the best-loved fantasy seers in recent years — a tale of bold adventure and timeless love, perilous battle and pure magic.
Act one: Deverry — In the UK, the third book is Dawnspell: The Bristling Wood, and the fourth book is Dragonspell: The Southern Sea.
Act two: The Westlands — in the UK, the third book is A Time of War and the fourth book is A Time of Justice.
Act three: The Dragon Mage
Act four: The Silver Wyrm — in the UK, these are continuations of Act Three: The Dragon Mage.
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Yep, which is why I'm willing to give a sequel a shot
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