So I have just finished the Book of Deacon Trilogy by Joseph Lallo. All in all I enjoyed it hugely. It was a nice quiet light fantasy with all the favorite magical elements, Dark, Light, Grey, Elemental, a little bit of Healing and some scary crystals and really bad dudes. I feel that it was a good solid trilogy that makes a nice filler between heavy series or just a nice holiday series when you don’t want to think too much. You can just read the story and let the events unfold in front of you. There were some issues with the series but I will get into that in a little bit!
The characters are all mostly likable (Ether being the exception) and even though the bad guys are truly evil, one can’t really hate them. They are all simple characters that are easy to understand (maybe a little to simple but…) and in the case of Myranda and Deacon, easy to get behind. You feel for her point of view about the war and about what it has done to her homeland. This being the driving factor for her as a Chosen.
Personally I rather liked Leo/Lian, he was for me the most well drawn character and the one that I felt that the series could easily have been based more on (on a side note I am looking forward to the prequel Rise of the Red Shadow as it follows Lian). He was certainly the most complex character, with his past as a slave and career as a famed assassin turned reluctant hero.
But I may be a little ahead of myself! I have not even told you what the series is about… shame on me! Let me put that right, right now.
There are two countries, the Northern Alliance and Tressor. They have been at war for about a hundred and fifty years… During that time things have gotten a little out of hand with evil beings from another set of worlds having come through a portal and slowly setting themselves up to take over this world as well. The only issue is the Chosen, Five heroes that were touched by the gods and made for the purpose of protecting the world. So the story starts as we follow the Chosen as they find each other an slowly all agree about what needs to be done. We have have Ivy, Myn, Leo/Lian, Ether and Myranda.
The whole series is chronicled by Deacon, sometimes in the far future, as he tries tell the truth of the events rather than the many over embellished versions that had cropped up over the years. This is not really evident as the story is in both third and first person from Myranda’s perspective. She is the glue that holds the series together, so to speak. It is her emotions that we hear of the most and she is the one that is responsible for bringing the Chosen together. The past events that have brought her to her currant beliefs are also important points to the plot. In a way I do not know why it is Deacon that is now writing the story down… or why we have anyone writing the story down. Not that it did not work… just, well, it was one of those things that actually made little to know difference to the telling or the feel of a story.
As a trilogy there were a few issues with the second and third books lacking in some areas but as I said in the beginning. This was a series I really enjoyed, one of the top things it had in it’s favor was Myn. A dragon that attaches herself to Myranda after her mother is killed and she hatches to find Myranda there in the den. While she never speaks she is a bright and active character in the series who is just a joy to read about. I admit that I just have a soft spot for all dragon kind but I find it hard to say that all dragons are written well, Myn is written well. She behaves in a way that is true to being a dragon (as I would imagine them) but not portrayed as either a wild beast or a rather stupid creature that just follows orders or who’s intelligence is over shadowed by the humans of the story (which is sadly all to often the case with how dragons are written). It was simply lovely to read a series that had dragons in it that are well written. A joy and a praise that I will be often heaping upon this series.
The main thing that pulled me out of the story, however, was the language used in the later books; most notably the last novel The Battle of Verril . For the first and second books, Myranda is referred to as Myranda, this makes sense, but suddenly in the last book Lallo decided to start calling her the Wizard, as though she was some unnamed character during a battle scene which kept on jolting me out of the action while I backtracked to try and see what, who and why. This of course ended up breaking up the pace of the book for me into little choppy bits.
Myranda is not the only character he did this to either, he started to call Ivy during moments of action the Beast (I don’t know why when, in the other two books, she was just Ivy). This sudden disconnect with the characters really suddenly and sharply pulled me out of the story and contact with the characters. It was odd, it truly felt like someone else had suddenly been handed the half finished book and just picked up where he left off without reading the other novels in the series.
I don’t know if this was because he had written this series with another author Karyn O’Bryant, but I really do not see this as a reason at all, they manged to keep what they called whom and how they were described right throughout the first two novels so why the third would be different. I do now know. Anyhoo!
The other thing that got to me was in the third book they go to a fort that happens to be filled with all the dead from the hundred and fifty years of fighting and the bad guy, Demont, raises them from the dead and turns them into zombies. This was so out of place and in a way truly random. It was like he was suddenly told “Hey, zombies are really popular so you need to have some in your series”. The one event that could have meant something could have taken place in a much better setting that actually moved the story along but… I just do not know. But once that rather random moment in the story was past it got better and it was soon forgotten.
I think what threw me though was that this as just not needed. Nor did it get used to explain something further along in the series. It was just…shrugs.
Conclusion! This is a all round good series, it is, as I said, fun and is a good light read. I would happily recommend it to others. I will do another one for the prequel when I am finished with it. So far it is looking like Lallo has matured as a writer and it may just be one of those rare finds… a prequel that is better than the original series!