Sunday, June 10, 2007

Warlord, by Elizabeth Vaughan [1]

*/***** (1/5)

Series about Lara & Keir:
1. WARPRIZE (4 stars)
2. WARSWORN (2 stars)
3. WARLORD (1 star)

The final installment in Vaughan's Lara & Keir series ends on a bitter note, with so many dying from WARSWORN. I found the ending very unsatisfying and bitter (especially Keir's diminished status and the constant reminder of the dead), events at the Plains entirely boring and unimaginative (our destination for the better part of 2 and a half books), and the romance finally drying in this final book.

SPOILERS follow.

The 3 books really chronicle a unsatisfying symmetry: Lara's rise to esteemed Warprize status, finally being confirmed in WARLORD, while Keir's downfall from Warlord status, finally revoked in WARLORD. WARLORD also depicts a symmetry from one of the opening scenes in WARPRIZE; in WARLORD, it's Keir bowing and kneeling before his confirmed Warprize as Lara did before Keir in WARPRIZE.

On a positive note, the best scene was definitely Lara's return to the Heart of the Plains after she believes Keir dead. She demands Keir's body and vows never to speak or come before the Council of Elders ever again, only to find Keir is still alive. A very fun Lara there.

Unfortunately, this was another sore spot.

We find out that similar to Lara, Keir also thought Lara dead, but unlike Lara, Keir never attempted to find her body as confirmation. Who cares how vast the Plains is, if Keir actually loves Lara as much as he professes, why not at least attempt to scour the Plains in search of her body?!

Keir was starting to get annoying by the end of WARLORD, what with his (constant) girly need to be with Lara (much moreso than Lara). WARLORD alludes to Keir's "anger" over being separated from Lara, but of course he does nothing about it. Keir is "angry" over being demoted but of course takes it up the chin. Keir hates the warrior-priests and many times before he promises to kill them all. But alas, that promise is forgotten too. Keir's entire character dissipates into this subservient, useless warrior for Lara and his need to be with her.

Keir even has a lot of problems trying to ward off a crippled Iften at the end. Lara's horse saves Lara from Iften initially, and then kills another baddie, while Keir has everything he can handle from a crippled Iften!

There's hints of a plot regarding Warking which I was looking forward to, but of course its dropped just as quickly. Instead, WARLORD highlights the symmetry between the opposite directions in status Keir & Lara are heading towards by the end of WARLORD.

By the time you finish the book, we don't know what's going to happen to Lara's home when a new Warlord may attack the following summer, we don't ever find out what happened to the other half of Keir's army, and we really don't know how Keir is supposed to stave off an attack on Lara's home the following summer when he's not around to regain his status. I mean I know Marcus' bonded is supposed to help Keir so Keir & Lara can return to Lara's home for a year or more, but what if Marcus' bonded is unsuccessful? We also never find out anything about the bonding thing, which was a big deal in WARSWORN.

As you can tell, I found the ending very unsatisfying, jarred and lacking in any closure. Keir's characterization was pretty annoying and the romance fairly dry.

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