Scoville Units Unite

26 Dec

Reread: The Shadow Of The Seer – Winter of the World Part 6

The Shadow of the Seer is the sixth and final book in a 6 book series by Michael Scott Rohan and a semi-stand alone book.

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Book 6 is a stand alone book set another unspecified number of years, but thought to be around 1000 in the appendix, before books 5 and 6. Character wise it can be read stand alone but there is so much built on the mythology of previous ones I wouldn’t think it would be a good idea. There is an appearance of some of the Powers from previous books and I suspect some of these characters may have been mentioned in throwaway lines in previous books and then expanded upon here but I don’t know for sure.

It tells the tale of a Seer amongst people in fear of the Ekwesh, although it is on the Western continent (Asia) and the people described as fighting the Ekwesh are clearly part of the Ekwesh in the previous 5 books which were set later. Alya is a young teen in training with his father when their hamlet is attacked by Ekwesh . He uses the power of the mask to transport himself a far distance and ends up near a larger and more defended location. Here he encounters a cruel spiteful boy called Vansha and the daughter of the headman Savi. There then follows an attempt by Vansha on Alyas life leaving him with no feeling in his legs, and an attack on that village. Ilmarinen intervenes and gives Alya superhuman strength. He then departs on a quest to find and save Savi, with Vansha at his side.

Their quest is lumbering, and encounters numerous people all of whom throw barriers in their way. Nightingale is the most ridiculous of these. I started this book in around May and then finished it around Christmas. I found it so difficult to pick up and read and actually enjoy. I don’t know if he ran out of steam, or I expected something different, or if it was the shift to the other continent. The details of the abuse that Savi suffered at the hands of the Ekwesh, shifting to the trials of Alya the superhuman and his band of hanger-ons just wasn’t enjoyable to read.

The world mythology isn’t really advanced much, there’s a lot of focus on a Seer trying to ascend the wall, there’s reference to the winged bird-human disguise that Louhi adopts later in the series. There’s the mask enabling the wearer to transport themselves vast distances, but nothing like the amount you learn later on. I thought it would show some lost knowledge a bit more. In previous books the geography of the world was explored and expanded on and referenced again, here it is written to be thrown away. The fauna doesn’t take as many giant leaps as in the other books even though it was set before so could have had some thought from the mythology of the set-later books, with one deus ex machina exception. The duargar who were only rediscovered in the earlier books, this would have been a good opportunity to find out about them. Perhaps it was they who left the writing encountered in a few places which was indecipherable.

If you have read the previous 5 books then read this one, but other than that I can’t really recommend any reason to give it a go, which is disappointing. I hope the fluff in the now-published role playing book is better than this anyway, as that may add itself to the queue.

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