When Harper Collins sent me Australian author Jennifer Fallon's most recent book, the conclusion to her 'The Tide Lords' series, The Chaos Crystal, I was pleasantly surprised by my interest. I requested the previous three books, and have just completed the first book, The Immortal Prince.
It isn't often that you get an author that is able to make me forget editorial mistakes or poorly worded sentences. Normally – like Paolini and Rowling – the writing is poor and the story is meh. The opposite end of the scale is writers like Steven Erikson and Robin Hobb. Wonderful story coupled together with exceptional skills.
Jennifer Fallon, however, manages to couple together frequent editorial lapses and loose writing with a story that just keeps me hanging on. Each page I turned, each chapter I read, I was spellbound by the story being told. And thankfully, the hiccups were not continuous, just frustratingly frequent.
The first book of four, The Immortal Prince introduces us to the world of Amyrantha. An old planet, it has suffered through many rises and falls of the terrible Tide Lords; immortal beings capable of inflicting great damage in their battles against each other. Humanity has simply been collateral damage, at best tools, in the internal struggles of the Tide Lords.
But the Tide Star has ebbed for too long, the Tide Lords have been powerless for many hundreds of years, and have fallen out of human knowledge. They are nothing but myth, fairy tales told to scare the children. Only the Crasii – believed to be an offshoot of humanity now serving humanity as slaves – still believe in the Tide Lords, their creators, their masters.
Arkady Desean is our main protagonist. Duchess of Lebec, married to the Duke of Lebec under strange and strained circumstances. Best friend to Glaeba's King's Spymaster, and a historian to boot, she has been called in to debunk the story of a Lebec prisoner, who survived one hanging attempt, and is now claiming to be a Tide Lord.
Fallon, despite the afore mentioned hiccups in her writing, manages to keep you hanging on almost every word of the story. You are almost 100% certain that Cayal is who he says he is, and are just waiting for Arkady to realize it. It is this though, this journey that we take with Arkady – through Cayal's spotted past, dodging the political intrigues common to any member of the royal court – that makes this story brilliant.
At times you are simply reading Cayal's history, as he tells it to Arkady, written as if he was speaking to the reader. You feel sorry for him, and can see that – though many believe all the Tide Lords to be evil and vindictive – there are probably some who have been caught out unawares of what they were getting themselves into. Not blameless in any sense of the word, but pitiable nonetheless.
Furthermore, Fallon weaves in a wonderful idea that I have not come into contact with; would an immortal ever want to die?
The expositions of Cayal as he depicts his life and his desire to end it are memorable. He is a charismatic and charming character – as Arkady finds out – and you feel for him in no time. He's the rogueish character you always wish you could have been, but were never allowed to be.
So if you're looking for a good and fun new series to bury your nose into, go out and pick up Jennifer Fallon's The Tide Lords series. All four books are available, and all four will soon be reviewed here at FBR.
Review by Joshua S Hill
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