Monday, May 2, 2011

Wolfsbane by Patricia Briggs

Wolfsbane (Aralorn)
Wolfsbane is the second book in the stories of Aralorn, and it really doesn't break much new ground. As I mentioned in my review of Masques, there's a Bond-ian flaw in the stories, and it appears at first that Aralorn and Wolf have made a stereotypical Blofeld-esque mistake, leaving a live enemy behind them. When they faced down ae'Magi Geoffrey, the left him without his magic facing a horde of malignant creatures that he'd formerly been able to control, assuming that he would be torn apart without either of our heroes bloodying their own hands.

Aralorn learns that her father, the Lyon of Lambshold, has died, and so she travels with Wolf to the old family keep to pay her last respects. Her relationship with her family has been strained over the years, as she was an illegitimate child of her father's shapeshifter lover, and some of her brothers are uncomfortable with her powers. For them moment, most of that is set aside while they are mourning.

It turns out that her father is not actually dead, but has been captured in a spell that simulates death. It's too complex for Wolf to unravel by himself, and so they seek help first from Aralorn's shapeshifter uncle, then from a local priestess of death, and finally from the current ae'Magi. As they dig into things further, they come to believe that it may be Geoffrey's spirit - a dreamwalker - influencing the living to perform the spell that threatens the Lyon.

The whole plot appears to be designed to draw Aralorn and Cain (Wolf) to a place where they can be captured for Geoffrey again. In some ways the book is more about relationships than about defeating the dead wizard's evil plans. Aralorn and Wolf become more deeply involved and committed to one another, and Aralorn's relationships with her mother, brothers and sister look like they might be restored. Again, not Briggs' best work, but it's good clean fun.

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