A brilliant continuation of the series.
This is really just one big story with minor climaxes to each part. We start pretty much where we left off in the last book. It is almost a travelogue of various kingdoms again where the party are following the trail of the orb and also warning the various monarchies about what’s going on. We are joined in the quest by Lelldorin an archer, Mandorallen a knight, Hettar a horse lord and finally Ce’Nedra, an imperial princess. It actually sounds like a party for a board game.
All the strengths and weaknesses from the first book are here in the second. The strengths still far outweigh the weaknesses in my head. I’d actually forgotten how little part Lelldorin plays here, he’s barely on the scene when he’s off again. Mandorallen is written well, seems pretty superficial at first but the depths are revealed as the story progresses. I was actually disappointed a bit with Hettar. I always thought there was more of him in the story but he’s barely present here anyway.
Ce’Nedra drives me mad but I guess she’s supposed to. I like how the author(s) show the dual nature of her and that the core of her is still the same further down the line, though luckily enough the worst parts dial down a bit as we progress. Garion learns a lot more about himself in this book and there is an explanation of what’s really going on, though certain parts are still hidden. Garion is still pretty whiney in this one though again I think he’s justified for most of it.
The first book had a few continuity errors and I think they’re mostly fixed in this one which makes the reading of it better. Obviously the story wasn’t quite complete in their heads for the first book. There’s so many great scenes in this book, the court scene in Vo Mimbre and the whole episode with Salmissra, one of my favourites. Again nothing earth shattering here, just a simple story told extremely well with great characters.