Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Sanctuary by Rowena Cory Daniells

Sanctuary is the third and final volume in Rowena Cory Daniells's Outcast Chronicles. I have previously reviewed the first two volumes, Besieged and Exile. I suggest reading those for a bit of background on the setting of the world if you are unfamiliar with it. A copy of this book was provided by the author for review purposes.

I jumped into Sanctuary immediately after finishing Exile. Unlike Exile, I'm not sure that Sanctuary works as a potential starting point into the series. The story picks up immediately where Exile left off and, although there are some reminders of earlier events, it builds a lot more on the events of the previous book. Needless to say, this review will contain spoilers for the first two books in the series.

After co-ordinating the evacuation of the T'En from Chalcedonia, Imoshen finds herself having to deal with all the brotherhoods and sisterhoods crammed into too few ships. Unsurprisingly, tensions are high as the T'En find themselves living in close quarters and resenting their exile. I really loved the way Imoshen thought ahead and foresaw many of their problems. Some of my favourite parts were when she kept outsmarting one of the more annoying brotherhood all-fathers and making him look stupid (which he was). Through all the hardship they have to face, it's her leadership and compassion which holds the T'En together.

Sorn, the halfbreed who was raised to serve King Charald and now serves Imoshen and the T'En, continued to grow on me as a character. He's clever and has somehow ended up without human or T'En prejudices. In the end he always fights for the greater good (admittedly, less so at the start in Besieged). His quick thinking and, in particular the way this plays off other people, was entertaining. He was definitely my favourite character in this book.

I was a bit worried that the ending would be a little up in the air as the King Rolen's Kin trilogy was. Luckily, this was not the case. There's definitely room for sequels — and I hope Daniells decides to write more books with these characters — but all the pertinent plot lines are nicely tied up.

Overall, I really enjoyed Sanctuary and the Outcast Chronicles as a whole. I highly recommend them to fantasy fans, particularly those that might want something a little different to the medieval gender politics commonly found in fantasy.

4.5 / 5 stars

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