Monday, January 11, 2010

The Barbed Rose by Gail Dayton

The Barbed Rose From

Demons are coming.
One woman has been chosen to face them . . .

Demon hordes still threaten the Kingdom while open rebellion has broken out within its cities, separating Kallista from her new family.

Assassination attempts, magical attacks -- she's surrounded by devastation unlike anything she's ever known, and her unique magic power no longer works as it should. Yet her own pain must yield to the needs of her country, for this military mage is charged with searching the four directions of the world for the other "Godmarked" -- the only ones who can help her keep demon invaders from shattering her world.

But can she find them in time?

After rereading and really enjoying The Compass Rose, I moved along to the second book in the series.

I'll admit straight up that I didn't enjoy this one as much as the first. It's a good read and the plot moves along very nicely, but I thought the interpersonal relationships of the main characters just got a bit too messy for me. I'm perfectly happy with Dayton's group marriage concept of an ilian that is a main part of the story (it's something that certainly wouldn't suit me in real life, but it works well as it is played out in these books). But it all got just a little too complicated.

Or maybe it's more that I didn't like Merinda, who managed to get herself added to the ilian and then went on to cause all sorts of problems. She was quite a realistic character in that she saw something she thought she really wanted, pulled strings and manipulated to get it and then found that it wasn't anything like what she had imagined after all. I guess many of us have done or seen something similar in our lives. So I could understand her, but I didn't like her. The others all had good and solid reasons for joining the ilian, for following Kallista and for, when called upon, opening themselves up to the call of the One. Merinda didn't. Everything was about her and because of that she totally messed up the balance of the ilian. Then it gets further changed at the end, and while I liked that part more, it still left me finished the book with a real sense of a lack of balance.

Of course, this is book 2 in a trilogy. These are the books that have a tendency to finish in a bad or difficult place, leaving everything to be worked out in the final book. Because I already knew that the last book, The Eternal Rose takes place six years later, even thought I'd read this book before, I still found myself expecting it to finish in a more settled place than it did.

(And now that I've started The Eternal Rose I find that in fact, that six years works well, but yes things have remained unbalanced all that time even if the characters have quite realised it. It's only now they are progressing towards a proper conclusion. All they had in that time was a breathing space.)

This is a good, solid book. The plot progresses well, the characters remain a pleasure to read and it moves us on towards the last book and the end of the story. But it certainly isn't a book for reading on its own. It works well in between the other two books, but it needs them to be complete.

The Barbed Rose
Gail Dayton
The One Rose, Book 2
Read: 7-1-10 to 10-1-10

The One Rose

  1. The Compass Rose
  2. The Barbed Rose
  3. The Eternal Rose (Goodreads link)


orannia said...

Hmmm. I really think I'd like to try this series at some point... Kerry, you are so not helping my TBR list :)

Kerry said...

It's all a cunning plan, you know that, don't you?

Amy C said...

Hi Kerry,
I read the first one a few years ago, and I have the next two. I keep thinking I should reread The Compass Rose before I read The Barbed Rose, but I probably remember more than I think I do. I know I really liked the group marriage set up. Very different. I'm curious to see what the complications are.

Have you read her magical historical series, New Blood and Heart's Blood? I think they are really great books!

orannia said...

It's all a cunning plan, you know that, don't you?

I'm coming to that realization, yes *grin*

Kerry said...

Hey Amy!

I haven't read her new ones. I admit I was rather put off by the cover of the first one and the blurb didn't totally grab me. But I've heard good things about them and after really enjoy this series, they are seriously on my "things to consider buying" list.