A Darkness at Sethanon by Raymond E. Feist

A much better book than Silverthorn though not quite as good as Magician.

A year has passed since Silverthorn. Pug is training with the Eldar on Kelewan and Arutha has finally settled into ruling Krondor and is a new father. However there are rumours of Nighthawks again and all the issues that have held quiet are now coming back and the true war is now upon them.

Like the previous book there is a somewhat quest nature to this book though it is not nearly as straight-forward as the last one. Pug and Tomas are back together again, which is great to see, and they set off on a journey to find Macros the Black across space and time. These are by far my favourite parts of this book and the whole Riftwar in general. I just love the absolute epic nature of the universe that Feist has created and the fact that some things are never answered. How did the City of Forever come to be, the same with the Hall of Worlds? Not everything needs an explanation and I love that twenty plus years after first reading these I am still thinking about it. We also get much more Valheru lore in this book, and again they are one of my favourite creations, truly amoral beings of power with no cares other than their own power.

Arutha, Jimmy and companions start out on a very similar journey as the last book but once events get to Armengar it changes. It is a great siege and lives long in the memory, as does the fall back to Sethanon. Character wise there are no great changes here, Jimmy and Locklear have a few moments of soul searching but at least on Jimmy it doesn’t really stick. There are a few new and returning characters here, one new one in particular is really great and shines a fresh light on events in Magician but I’ll let that one remain unnamed, don’t want to ruin the surprise!

It does feel dated in places, women in particular don’t have major roles but the story itself holds up fairly well I’d say. I definitely read this series through my rose tinted glasses but I’d imagine most fans of fantasy would still enjoy it. It is fast paced, has some really epic battles and magic that is world altering, what more can you ask for?

4.5 stars out of 5

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