Grand Conspiracy by Janny Wurts
It gets harder and harder to review each subsequent novel in Janny Wurts’ excellent epic fantasy series THE WARS OF LIGHT AND SHADOW without either repeating yourself or including spoilers for earlier volumes. My previous reviews have highlighted the series’ complexity, level of detail, deep characterization, gorgeous prose, and inventive descriptions of magic. All of those positives can again be found in Grand Conspiracy, the fifth book in the overall series and second in the Alliance of Light arc.
So, what’s left to say? Grand Conspiracy will not disappoint anyone who has read the previous four novels in the series. As a matter of fact, if (like me) you felt that the previous installment, Fugitive Prince, moved more slowly than the first three books in the series, because as the first book of this five-book arc it contains more set-up than usual, you’ll probably be happy to hear that, despite some ebbs in the plot, Grand Conspiracy moves things along at a more solid pace again.
As always, you’ll also encounter a mid-novel peak in the action, followed by a relentless rush to an exciting resolution that, at the same time, sets things up effectively for Peril’s Gate, the next novel in the series. Since that’s also the middle book in the overall series (book 6 of a projected 11 novels), I’m 100% sure that it’ll be yet another memorable novel.
So, to avoid spoilers and repetition, I’ll keep this review short and simple, and leave it at that: this is another great book in what’s quickly becoming one of my favorite fantasy series. Now all the WARS OF LIGHT AND SHADOW novels are available and in print again, and with the ninth book in its final stages of completion, you’re seriously missing out if you’re not reading what’s sure to become a classic of epic fantasy.
The Wars of Light and Shadow — (1993-2017) Booklist: For more than 500 years the Mistwraith has darkened the world of Athera. Where once were fields, flowers, and unicorns, there now are bareness, poverty, and desperation. The curse can be lifted only by the combined powers of two half-brothers who have been raised apart as enemies. Blond Lysaer, who grew up in the castle, is a born diplomat with a strong sense of justice and latent powers of light. Dark-haired Arithon, called the Master of Shadows, is skilled in music and magic and possesses an overwhelming empathy for all living things. When the two are thrown together in exile, an uneasy bond begins to form between them, and under the guidance of the Fellowship of Sorcerers, they work toward lifting the bane. But the Mistwraith fights back by twisting their talents and turning them against each other, plunging the kingdom into a bloody conflict. Read an excerpt of The Curse of the Mistwraith here. Listen to excerpts here. (Excerpts of other WoLaS books also available.)
Stefen- That’s a big challenge for me to as a reviewer is these big multi-volume epics, when you’re reading them pretty much one after the other vs. as they come out without the year or so break waiting for the next book. If they’re consistently high quality, like Ms. Wurts’ are.
It’s kind of a catch 22. If they are not consistently good, you’ll probably stop reading them, so it won’t matter. But if they are good, how many different ways are there to explain what makes them good?
I liked this series too, but Wurts’ stories are far from a light read, and I had to take a break. I mean to get back to them at some point though.