Sunday, 29 January 2012
Review: Liar's Moon by Elizabeth C. Bunce
I wrote about how much I was looking forward to this book back in October. Liar's Moon is the second book in Bunce's Thief Errant trilogy, following StarCrossed. Bunce very deftly avoids falling into the dreaded "middle book syndrome" because she makes use of a new setting, new characters, and new situation. In the first book, our protagonist, the thief Digger/Celyn escapes a job gone wrong and hides out with a noble family in the north. She is slowly drawn into the civil war being fomented by magic users (who are persecuted under the current rulers and, especially, the religious authority of the Celystra).
Liar's Moon, on the other hand, is set in Gerse, Digger's home and the capital of Llyvraneth. The noose is being drawn more tightly around Gerse every day, as the civil war, led by the Sarists and Prince Wierolf (whom we met in the previous book) comes closer and closer to the city. Meanwhile, a curfew is in effect and the Greenmen, soldiers of the Inquisition, are rooting out and killing magic users throughout the city. Digger finds herself in prison (not too surprising) and meets an old friend, Durrell, who has been accused of murdering his wife.
The novel begins as a murder mystery, as Digger endeavours to clear her friend's name, but Digger and Durrell uncover secrets that go right to the heart of the war and discrimination against magic users. Many of the characters who featured in the first book are off-stage, fighting in the war - I do hope we'll see them again in the next book. The plot builds slowly at first, then the threads begins to come together, and then its off in a rollicking race to the end of the book. I myself had to gulp down the last 140 pages last night, all in one go.
I found myself a bit concerned toward the end of the book, because many narrative threads are tied up in the second book. What would be left for the final book in the trilogy? And then, wham!, what an ending! Bunce sets up several exciting possibilities for the direction of the last book in the series, which I really hope comes out soon.
This is a refreshing second book for this series, as it breaks new narrative ground, while still featuring the deft plotting and the fabulous protagonist that made the first book so delectable.