This trilogy is part three of the Khaavren Romances, a series that takes part in the world of Vlad Taltos, only that these events happened before Vlad was borne. The first two books in the series, “The Pheonix Guards” and “Five Hundred Years After”, tell the story of four people who find each other and occasionally save the world, or at least try to. Brust used a style that is a hommage to Alexandre Dumas, and in fact the first two books feel like a retelling of “The Three Musketeers” and it’s sequel. This trilogy tells of how the empire that had been destroyed in the previous book was reborn.
I really liked the first two books. So, when I learned that more was coming, I was really delighted, but in the end the new trilogy failed to make the same impression. Not that it was a complete failure. The story was okay, all the old and beloved characters turned up again, some new and interesting ones were added, and the resolution at the end of the third book was rather good. But somehow I was less than overwhelmed. Part of that was that the style in which the first two books were written began to grate on my nerves when I had to read three books of it in a row.
But there were other reasons as well why I didn’t enjoyed the three books as much as I would have liked too. Somehow over the course of all three books I never got the feeling that the heroes were really in danger from their enemies, only at the end the tension was rising a little bit, yet far too late. Another problem was that there were just too many characters, and it felt to me like Brust just went down a checklist when visiting them instead of writing real peoples the reader could connect to, less would have been more in this case.
Even the group of four main characters from the first two books didn’t came alive for me as they did then. They didn’t felt like the underdogs they had been in the past anymore. When they reached the state where they could summon the mightiest gods and kings or other forces and powers of their world to solve any problem, they became less interesting. Instead of a David vs Goliath conflict, I saw a Goliath vs Goliath conflict, and the heroes seemed to be on the side of the bigger one (the same problem had the second Sparhawk trilogy by Eddings). Overall the books were by no means bad, but just not as good as the first two Khaavren Romances.
The Paths of the Dead (2002)
Lord of Castle Black (2003)
Sethra Lavode (2004)