Longeye is the sequel and conclusion to the enjoyable novel Duainfey.
Now that Becca has escaped from life as a sex-slave to Artificer Altimere, she must find a way to rebuild her life, learn to trust again, and help solve the mystery of what is happening to the land around her, as undead trees and strange monsters are starting to appear and take over Faliance. (Undead trees? That’s the big bad guy here?)
I usually am a big fan of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, especially their Liaden books, so I was surprised that I didn’t like Longeye. There was the potential for a good story here, but it was smothered by a main character I didn’t care about hurdling through a plot that felt far-fetched and contrived, and then slamming into a conclusion at the end that was completely illogical. Becca spends the whole book railing against being dominated or subjected to the will of anyone else, but in the conclusion to the story, she has to subject all of creation, both Fey and Human, to her will. She was a completely helpless creature for most of the book. Anytime she tried to do something on her own it went disastrously wrong, but now we’re going to let her decide the fate of the world for every living thing? That just didn’t make sense to me.
But, there were parts of the book that I really enjoyed. The Wood Wise and their ability to talk to the trees was well done, as was the different personalities of the different species of trees. There were several minor characters that I also thought were well written, especially Nancy, Violet and Jaime, but they weren’t enough to compensate for problems in other places.
Rarely will I say a book needs to be longer, but I think this book would have benefited from another hundred pages or so to explain the problems with the keleigh better, and also to make the ending make sense, rather than just something that seemed slapped on (it’s magic so it works — don’t question it too much).
I’m sorry that I can’t recommend this book. Longeye felt like I was looking at a pencil sketch instead of an oil painting. If you want to read something good by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, try Partners in Necessity. It may technically be space opera, but it has giant talking turtles, sorcerers and a sentient tree in it, which makes it count as fantasy for me, and I can still remember all the main characters’ names ten years later.
Duainfey & Longeye — (2008-2009) Publisher: Faliance is a world where there is traffic and trade between humans and Fey, elflike beings who control powerful magic. Lord Altimere is powerful, both in influence and in magic. The former because he is the Queen’s most trusted advisor — and, if his plans succeed, her consort as well. The latter because of a secret. He has abducted a human, Rebecca Beauvelley, middle child of the Earl of Barimuir. Even overlooking her withered left arm, she is not a beauty in the sight of humans, but the Fey are attracted to the auras of humans, and Rebecca’s exceeds even the most comely of human auras by a factor of ten. An enchanted collar which Altimere has placed around her neck makes her unable to resist obeying his orders. And each time she has an affair, carefully arranged by Altimere, with one of the Fey, some of their magical power passes through her to Altimere. So it was until Altimere was absent from the court, and Lady Sian of Sea Edge, one of the Queen’s cousins, came for a visit, discovered that Rebecca was secretly a prisoner in her own mind, and freed her of Altimere’s compulsion. Unfortunately, even now that both the Queen and Lady Sian know of Lord Altimere’s plot, he may be too powerful for anything but a large number of other Fey, pooling their magical power, to bring to justice — and since getting Fey to act in concert is like herding cats, the Queen will need some time to cajole and persuade enough of her allies. Iin the meantime, Rebecca must be protected from Altimere — and from herself. She is determined to return home, which cannot yet be permitted. And if she cannot go home, she is even more determined to kill herself!