Friday, March 25, 2016

Book Review - The Liar's Key (Best of '15)

Book - The Liar's Key 
Writer - Mark Lawrence    
Series - The Red Queens War #2    
Published By - Ace/Voyager

[ This hopefully, is a part of a series of reviews I am going to do over the upcoming months reviewing some of the best fiction, music and animes of 2015]

Writing is a medium of art that is so much unique in my opinion specially for one reason, it provides such a big room for growth and improvement. Writing gives the authors a chance to stretch their imagination and we all know that there is no limit to it if tapped in through the right channel. In this second book of his second series Mark Lawrence shows us not only how good his imagination is but also shows us that he can take us into it through very enjoyable means too. While we get to enjoy his awesome characters with excellent dialogue play from the first book within a richly imagined and exciting world, he also introduces some more new ones and takes world building to a  whole new level with the unorthodox style of slowly letting the surroundings and factions unfold, which just lets the readers savor the taste better.

We pick up the story from where we left our heroes, winter has locked Prince Jalan Kendeth far from the luxury of his southern palace far in the north. And while the North may be home to Viking Snorri ver Snagason he is just as eager to leave as he wants to bring his wife and children back from deaths door with the help of Loki's key. However, even men who hold a key that can open any door must wait for the thaw. But there are lots of other players in this game, other hands reaching for Loki’s key including the Dead King who is working for the Lady Blue. And now Jalan and Snorri must travel back to the south with a few old and new allies while overcoming obstacles and learning new things both about themselves and about their world on the journey.

Both the characters of Jalan And Snorri were masterfully developed in the first book of the series; and once again Lawrence uses his elegant and fast paced storytelling to show the growth and changes in these two main characters. Jalan is as disgusting as ever yet we get to see slow changes in him and he does get some form of maturity. The reveal of his backstory also adds new dimensions to him as well. Snorri also changes through the quest to retrieve his family from deaths door and becomes much more embroiled in the tragedy that befell him. Tuttugu was already quite an enjoyable addition, but Kara and Hennan adds much more room for maneuver to enrich the overall plot. Each character has their own motivations and perspectives which adds in interesting ways to the overall enjoyment.

The plot progression is so crisp and charismatic; it shows everything was quite skillfully planned by the author as becoming so fluid and savory. The action sequences were equally visceral and believable, and does entice the reader to read on. And all the previous readers of Mark Lawrence knows how good he is in world-building that it is indeed needless to praise this aspect more. The world unfolds so slowly and skillfully and engrosses the readers more and more into the web of enchantment that he weaves all around.

Among the few negatives is the fact that Snorri's character did seem a bit locked in place at times and should have been explored a bit more in my opinion. Another point might be the ending seemed a bit rushed and over-dramatic despite the enjoyment. But the positives far outweigh the negatives and this book is definitely among one of the best fantasy titles of 2015. I just can't wait to get my hands on the third and final book of the series. 

This one gets a well deserved 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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