We have reached Arc III of The Wars of Light and Shadow series also know as the Alliance of Light Quintet. After the surprising and painful conclusion to Warhost of Vastmark, I found myself wondering what was in store for me with the next installment. What I didn’t expect was for this series to take a very dark turn not only with the choices and hardships of our main characters but the threads and plotlines starting to connect in unforeseen ways. Janny is not one to hold your hand throughout this journey but to lead you down a path and you may not like where you end up. This is just the tipping point for what this series is starting to show me and I couldn’t think of a more talented author to show me the way. This will be a spoiler free review but I will be touching on certain events in the previous novels. Please don’t continue reading if you don’t want to be spoiled.
After his defeat at Vastmark, Lysaer has formed an Alliance of Light among several kingdoms as he seeks his revenge on his half-brother. Sworn to rid the world of Arithon’s influence of shadow, Lysaer is approached by the Koriani enchantresses with the idea of joining forces. The Morriel Prime is at a loss following her failed assassination attempt of the shadow prince. The Prime seeks wisdom in her crystal for the next steps, but she knows her time is almost up and she must prepare a successor for her goals to be fulfilled. Arithon along with the Mad Prophet are on the hunt for the Paravians or at least remnants of the Paravians from the past. His journey will bring him all across Athera and beyond but his future is written in darkness and blood with no room for error. War will come again but with much higher stakes.
These reviews will be getting harder and harder the further I progress in the series so forgive me if I don’t go into great details from this point forward. Fugitive Prince starts about six months following the end of Warhost, but sometime later Janny will throw in a three year time jump. This is just the first in a long list of surprises Janny has up her sleeve. We get to see a lot more of Jieret since we first met him at the age of twelve in book 1. Bloodsworn to Arithon and with augur abilities of his bloodline, Jieret has quickly become a favorite of mine both for his devotion and loyalty. As I made my way through the story, Janny hit me with a gut punch of a chapter that still gets to me even as I’m writing this review. It was unexpected, tragic, heartbreaking, and I know will have huge implications for what is to come. Very few authors bring out the type of reaction in me and they are all on my top authors list. Guess who just joined the club!
Nothing in this series can be described as predictable, uninspiring, or unoriginal in all factions. We have a multi-layered, complex, and character driven novel with the beautiful writing of someone who I consider to be a poet. While at the same time destroying me with blow after blow of emotional turmoil. Although the first book was published in 1993, this is a series for the modern fantasy reader. It has the right blend of classical influences while being highly original and unique in a genre that is ever evolving. Janny is a pillar of the fantasy community and she will never apologize for being the hardnose and inspirational writer she has become. This series has flown under the radar for too long, but I will work my tale off to change that perspective in the fantasy community if it is the last thing I do. Don’t sleep on this series for one more moment. Read it!