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Doom of the Darksword - Margaret Weis

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Genre: Sci-Fi / Fantasy / Author: Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman / Edition: Reissue / Mass Market Paperback / 416 Pages / Book is published 1988-09-01 by Bantam USA

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      28.10.2009 15:39
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      Enjoyable but not great

      Doom of the Darksword is the second book in the Darksword trilogy written by two American fantasy writers Margaret Weis and TRacy Hickman. They are more famous for their collaboration on the Dragonlance novels, after the success of those they collaborated on this trilogy. The Darksword novels are set in a world were magic is endemic, and the absence of magic is a social pariah, indeed any individuals with low magic ability are often shunned. Magic can be split into those featuring either earth, wind or water and some individuals can be low in magic in one of these factors.

      However, an ancient prophecy says that one will come who will be dead magically who will die not once but twice and in surviving cause the world to be changed forever.

      Enter Joram, the emperors long waited for son is tested as all new borns are for their inate magical ability but he turns out to be totally magically inert, and is deemed dead by the society. Joram is given up as dead but is rescued by his mid-wife and ferretted away to a small group living in obscurity in the marshlands. There he learns how to do sleight of hand and hides his lack of ability from others, then in a raid by some warriors he's almost killed again, this fulfills the ancient prophecy and the story begins for real.

      This the second book in the series moves the story away from an awakenings or beginnings novel into a full fledged mature fantasy book. Joram is now grown up, he's discovered his identity and has forged for himself the Darksword in which he can weild to give him power over those with magical ability.

      Forging the darksword requires a catalysis and Joram meets the other main character in the novel, a mathematically minded priest called Father Saryon. These two start to push the limits of their society, ingrained in its love for magic it has in truth become stale and unchanging, Joram as a non-magic user is starting to develop technology and this along with Father Saryons skills as a scientist are starting to change peoples views on magic.

      The second book becomes something of a travelling book, a small group travel to a large city and in doing so change themselves and the city they live. Joram is the emperors son and when he gets to the another big city realises the incompetence of his fathers reign, he soon associates this fall with the lack of invention caused by societies reliance on magic. Trying to get the city to back his ideas, he is captured and the book accelerates towards a doom laden ending.

      This book has a few echoes of other classic fantasy, sci-fi genres, the story is well paced at the start and finish but gets a bit bogged down in the centre when there's too much politiking and not enough excitement. The ending is well, lets just say that I'm amazed George Lucas didn't have a word with the pair because there are huge similarities between the ending of this book and the ending to Empire Strikes Back. As I don't want to give away the ending, think more Han Solo than Luke Skywalker.

      However, the book does end satisfactory and by the end the reader does feel as though all the main characters have progressed satisfactory, it also makes the reader want to read the start of the third book because the authors leave a lot of things hanging.

      This trilogy and this book will never be considered a classic, not even by fantasy fans it simply doesn't have the same quality of writing as other fantasy greats but if you enjoy stories about magic, battles, spells, swords and enjoy reading fantasy when its not full of dragons, elves, dwarves etc then this novel is a good read.


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