Tuesday, April 6, 2010

REVIEW: Medalon by Jennifer Fallon

ISBN 9780765348661
Series: The Demon Child Trilogy, Book 1
(c) November 2004, TOR
Jennifer Fallon's website

Buy Link (paper): Book Depository

Rating: 2 stars

Every once in a while, I get tired of reading paranormal romances and other types of romance novels, so I decided to refresh myself with another love of mine--fantasies. I loved The Immortal Prince, which I reviewed here, so I thought I'd picked up one of Ms. Fallon's earlier works, which has received good reviews as well.

In Medalon, R'shiel, daughter of First Sister Joyhinia Tenragan, is a novice in the Sisterhood, and she is an unwitting pawn in her mother's plots and schemes. When one of these was revealed, she escaped with her half-brother Tarja, and they became embroiled in a rebellion against the Sisterhood, which had done innumerable (hidden) acts of cruelty against the people over the years. They also met Brak, from whom they learned that the Harshini, a magical people, do in fact exist and that the legendary demon child is living in their midst. And the Harshini want the child in order to defeat a god...

I was prepared to love this book and be taken on an adventure. Unfortunately, several factors, some of which are personal biases, hindered that goal:

1. The presence of gods and goddesses in the story, interfering in actual human events. The first time I encountered this was when I read one of David Eddings' series. The Tamuli, if I'm not mistaken, where this goddess "clings" to Sparhawk and later (end of series) was incarnated to be his daughter. I feel that the inclusion of this goddess ruins what was otherwise a great story, and I remember having heated debates with one of my friends about it. Anyway, I hated it then and I hated it now in this story. There is a tendency to abuse the presence of the gods to solve a problem that would otherwise have provided an opportunity for growth for the character.

2. I feel too that some of the events lost their suspense/tension factor when readers get to know about it far ahead of time from another character's perspective. Because of this, I was never really "gripped" by the story.

3. R'shiel. I loved her at the start. I thought she had potential as a great heroine. She was brave and daring, and two of the things I like about her was her affection for her brother and her sense of humor in response to her mother's unfeeling and unmaternal attitude toward her. But she became sort of blah toward the middle and whatever emotions I first invested in her leaked away.

4. Romance aspect. I guess I'm more of a romance reader than I realized, because what little romance there is in this book wasn't enough to satisfy me. Even the tension wasn't there. The only author I've read who was able to write a decent romance over a trilogy for the main characters in a fantasy series was Jacqueline Carey for the first Kushiel trilogy (Phedre's and Joscelin's story). I like the way the characters' relationship progressed over the three books.

Morever, in relation to point #3 above, I hated Phedre for a time for what she's doing to Joscelin. (I love love love Joscelin.) Phedre is a strong heroine, but her actions and her physical needs might not cause all readers to love her. Not that what she did was repulsive, but that I, for one, don't understand why she needed to do certain things. So, although I didn't like the female protagonist at times, but she inspired such strong emotion that I felt compelled to read on, if only to see her capitulate in the end for love of the hero. Not that she did, but compromises were made. If her books weren't such huge tomes, I might be tempted to reread.

So, will I read Treason Keep (Book 2)? I don't think so, as I've lots of fantasy titles on my TBR pile.



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