Treason Keep, the sequel to Medalon, is more of the same: a fast pace and fun characters overshadow the not-so-tight plot.
Jennifer Fallon keeps things interesting by expertly developing a couple of characters who were briefly introduced in her first book: Damin Wolfblade, an intelligent barbarian warlord (always a good thing, in my opinion), and Adrina, a spoiled princess whose daddy wants to marry her off because he’s tired of paying for her escapades — she just demolished the city’s wharf while trying to dock a nobleman’s yacht while she was drunk (the yacht sank). I was impressed with how Ms Fallon gave us very short but meaningful glimpses of Damin and Adrina in the first novel — their personalities in Treason Keep were completely consistent with what we had previously learned about them, and it was clear that Ms Fallon had consciously prepared that. I noticed this sort of preparation for the future in this novel, too. For example, at one point, Tarja tells Damin that he’ll owe him a big favor, and I’m sure we’ll be seeing the fulfillment of this in a later installment.
So Damin and Adrina join Tarja and R’shiel, the established main characters who we already know and love, and several other old and new characters, making this novel both familiar and fresh. Fallon effectively uses different characters’ points of view to tell the story (Adrina’s point of view is particularly entertaining) and there is enough humor and romance to counterbalance some of the disturbing and violent events.
There were a few things that just didn’t make sense to me, however. For example, Joyhinia is now out of commission and a large group of the Defenders have broken off from the Sisterhood and gone north to defend Medalon from the Kariens without permission of the Sisters. There is a lot of fretting about how to trick the quorum into making Mahina First Sister so that she can sanction their plans and send more Defenders. An elaborate and unreliable scheme is contrived when it seems safer, and more likely to work, to just go to the quorum and tell them the truth: “Hey sisters, look at Joyhinia. She’s lost her mind and there’s a bunch of our enemies massed at the border. Could we appoint a new leader and send some troops to defend the country?”
Also, the religious and magical systems seem arbitrary and convenient. It’s not quite clear what gods and demons can do (and when), why R’shiel can call them to help her sometimes but not other times, what kinds of powers she has, and how the magic works. And why does she wear Harshini dragon rider leathers but never rides a dragon?
The plot of Treason Keep is not drum-tight, but the characterization and pleasant writing style make this an enjoyable read nonetheless.
The Demon Child Trilogy
The Wolfblade Trilogy is a prequel to The Demon Child Trilogy