Solaris. p/b Â£7.99.
Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins.
King Charald is in a temper again, pacing and demanding his Warriorâ€™s-voice, but Sorne is still recovering after the ritual to seek out his last vision for the king, and his choice-brother Zabier does not have Sorneâ€™s skills in calming the raging monarch. With the king ever more prone to bouts of madness and irrational fury, Sorne knows Charald is losing grip on the kingdom and it is only a matter of time before the hungry barons that surround him learn the truth.
Imoshen is all-mother now, surveying the damage in the aftermath of attack, and with theCelestialCitybesieged it is clear the hatred of the Wyrds runs deep. The ever-separate brotherhoods and sisterhoods realise their only choice against King Charald is to elect a causare to unite them. With three candidates in the running Imoshen is looking favourite for the role, but Gift-tutor Vittoryxe is still close by, still watching Imoshenâ€™s rise through the sisterhood.
Like Imoshen, Ronnyn and Aravelle have been raised by their parents outside of the usual boundaries of the Tâ€™En society, but their peaceful solitude cannot last. Ronnyn is a Tâ€™En boy born to Malaunje parents and is close to coming into his powers. As his gift begins to manifest in uncomfortable ways the family knows it will not be long before they have to return to the life they once fled and give him up to the brotherhoods for training.
Exile is the second instalment in The Outcast Chronicles and this book takes place in a much narrower time span than its predecessor. The result is a story that is tension-filled from the start with none of the pacing issues that hindered Besieged. The introduction of some new and highly admirable characters really lifts the story and solidifies this series as an impressive fantasy epic. The exploration of gender and hierarchy continues in a society that is brutal and unforgiving.
The magic system is still one of this worldâ€™s greatest strengths and we are granted new insight into the vast powers available to the Tâ€™En, this time through such intimacies as sharing and reliving memories as well as experiencing untamed gift power and its effects through Ronnynâ€™s storyline. On the other hand we are also shown what life is like for the True-Men and can begin to understand a little more the misconceptions they live under and why they so fear the Tâ€™En.
There are four main threads to the story, following the action in both the magic and non-magic communities, and the plot is handled expertly always placing the protagonists for each thread in the midst of the action and switching between them at appropriate points so that the reader always had a clear understanding of the issues each of them face. The four threads of course converge and lead to an immense climax that has laid the tracks for a fantastic conclusion to the story in book three.