Archive for December 23rd, 2010

Valery Leith – The Way Of The Rose

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

It is not often that book two of a trilogy contains the core of a story and the peak of development. It is to this conclusion I came after reading The Way Of The Rose (2001), the final book of the Everien Trilogy by Valery Leith. The Way Of The Rose is certainly not bad or something like that, but it is a book of closure and concepts.

If you have read the second book by now I can disclose that the main story of the book is about time. At the end of The Riddled Night the two main events of the story came to their conclusion. The Way Of The Rose is mostly about its aftermath and its effects on Everien. The book picks up about immediately after the events of The Riddled Night which means a lot of characters are trying to get back to where they wanted to be while some other events evolve around the same time. About two-thirds of the book is about these unfolding events which means that most of the story, unlike the previous two, move much slower with less actually happening. This fact is hardly noticed because there are still many characters and thus storylines we are following. A bit too much actually, although they do play their part in the bigger story. Some of those stories are still quite eventful and provide the necessary variation. Some of the other storylines are so regular that if you had cut them out and put them together basically followed a straightforward pattern of closure, to simply wrap things up.

That it is not really closure in the real sense is because Leith is putting a large number of concepts within these closure stories. With concepts I mean that she puts in a lot of different ideas and unexpected twists within these relatively short storylines. The reader will be set on the wrong footing several times just because Leith kept up certain patterns but drops them suddenly now. This forms a contrast with the previous books but does make it stand out on its own. There are two minor points about this change. The first is that the concepts remain fairly short and somewhat undeveloped. It happens and can be over with quite fast. There would have been space to give it more attention, although that would have lengthened the book a lot. Now it has remained in a compact story. So it’s a choice you can make. The thing with the many concepts is that they are more vulnerable to flaws. I noted some small errors that were apparently missed. It’s a thing that can happen when the complexity is great and there are so many ideas. I alread noted in my review of book two that I had the idea I missed some things, so these could have been small errors as well.

Because of the many storylines and focus on concepts, the character development is much less than the previous books. Getting the story to a conclusion through all the complexities might have been requesting more concentration.

Although I enjoyed reading the story unfolding in original ways it lacked the urgency and strong ending of book two. The ending of the trilogy felt are simple than what I had come to expect from Leith based on the interesting concepts and twists. Moreover, this is the first time I had the feeling that the story had been structured in the wrong way. Of course, when you develop a story you set up a certain logical sequence of events, but here I had the idea that in this form it lacked somewhat to be able to provide a strong ending. Now book two had that much better. It remains a bit debatable how the story could have been set up differently. It is just a feeling I have and to really discuss it I need someone to have read it as well.

This trilogy is a great read for any fantasy fan who likes complexity and mysteries, with none of the mainstream tripes. An original story that stands on its own and should have been noted more. It evaded my attention and should have been given a reprint again.