Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sword Sworn by Jenifer Roberson

Sword-Sworn (Tiger and Del)I waited for the final book in the saga of Tiger and Del for ages. I'm glad that Roberson finally had a chance to write the "final" tale in their story. There's only a couple of problems with the tale, from my point of view.

The first, of course, is that it took so stinkin' long to reach me that I'd nearly totally forgotten "all that has gone before," and Roberson only provides that recap in bits and pieces, scattered throughout the book. Without going back and re-reading Sword Born (not exactly an onerous task, anyway), and some of the other books in the series, I was temporarily disoriented, much as the SandTiger after a bota of aqivi.

Anyway, we pick up the tale of Tiger and Del as they're returning once more to the Southland from Skandic, where Del has found out who his mother was, learned some things about his heritage, and lost his pinkie fingers on both hands. The last time Tiger was in the South, however, he renounced his sword dancer's oaths, and is not only persona non grata, but fair game for any sword dancer who feels like killing him. Thereby, as they say, dangles the tail.

One of the side effects of what has happened to Del in Skandic is that he has begun to dream of a dead woman, who tells him to find her and "pick up the sword." The sword in question, of course, is his jivatma, Boreal, which he left buried in a cave after wrestling with a couple of sorcers, back in a previous installment.
So Del and Tiger travel about the South, encountering old friends and old enemies, making new friends and new enemies, and generally having a heck of a good, sword-dancing time. Some of the plot devices are fairly predictable early in the game, but it was still an enjoyable read.

The second problem I had with the book was how it all wrapped up far too neatly in about the last twenty pages. All problems solved, and they look like they're going to live happily ever after in near paradise. I know you wanted to wrap up their story and never return, Jenifer, but you really didn't HAVE to leave your devoted fans with no loose threads to worry at, did you?

All things considered, I loved it, and I highly recommend the novel and the series.

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