C. J. Cherryh – Fortress Of Owls

The third novel in the Fortress-series is Fortress Of Owls (1999). In this volume C. J. Cherryh continues her fantasy tale of threatening sorcery in a mediaevil world. Although two viewpoints are followed the second only gets limited coverage as the focus lies on the more unusual character who forms the center of the story. It is this unusual main character that makes the this series stand out from the mainstream as Cherryh manages to present him in a refreshing way. Still, most of setting and story is quite ordinary.

Cherryh’s style can be considered to have a moderate pace with extensive dialogues while taking her time to set up a scene. Luckily her writing is fluent and easy to read so you hardly notice it. Nevertheless this causes the plot to move slowly as she tried to give everything their appropriate attention.

Each book in the series until now seems to have a specific approach. The plot of first book, Fortress In The Eye Of Time, pretty much stood on its own. Of course there was still plenty to be resolved, it could have survived without a sequel. As such it was good enough that I wanted to read the next novels.

The second book, Fortress Of Eagles, was quite different. The plot moved very slowly in the beginning and overall not that much happened, especially compared to the first book. In my view it was mainly setting the stage.

This third book is mostly defined by revolving around preparations. Plenty happens, but it is only minor and more details to the bigger story than really essential. Cherryh’s extensive writing made the book reach the end too soon. So what I now hope is that the next novel, Fortress Of Dragons, will be more into the action and go into the actual plot, although I expect Cherryh to start off slowly again, but picking up the pace earlier than before.

Overall Fortress Of Owls will keep the reader entertained but tensions never rise much. There is danger but it doesn’t get to an actual confrontation. It is certainly an improvement compared to the previous novel, but still quite not on par with the first.

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