"Desire is often the greatest poison."
One of, I think, the greatest lines I have read in any book. In addition to providing a fantastic commentary on our world it perfect serves to sum up Ms. Azinger's most recent book. Please understand, I don't mean to say desiring the book too much poison's the experience, but that the book itself perfectly blends poison and desire into one of the best fantasy books I have read in the past twelve months.
Every time I pick up one of the Silk and Steel books I do so with a certain amount of trepidation. Could this book possibly be as good as the past one/two/three have been? And each time I have been happy to answer that yes, yes they could. This time I can say that this book is in fact BETTER than those which preceded it, something I never expected to say.
The Poison Priestess begins during the same time frame as the Skeleton King, except where that book focused on event to the north or Erdhe this book contains itself to the south. For fans of the stories of Liandra, Steward, and Jordan this book will strike a perfect cord. The action is fast past in all the right parts, while slowing down at some places to allow the depth of the events which just happened to sink in. Azinger's miraculous use of pacing and tone are in full display in this book and it shines because of them.
The story of Liandra especially fleshes out in this novel. Torn between emotion and duty her character deepens and anneals into something completely new and amazing. I must say that although she has long been my favorite character she definitely came into her own this time.
The other stories are just as rich and rewarding, from the darkly sinister Lord Raven's march towards Laverness and Pellanor to the Priestess's seductive personality. Each is peppered with surprises and plot twists so shocking that I often found myself rereading passages to make sure I was right in what I thought was going on. Hints of foreshadowing also are woven into the story so numerously that I doubt any reader could ever catch them all on a first try. One detail especially sticks in my mind as one of the best hidden bits of foreshadowing I've read to date.
In totality if you've already begun down the path of the Silk and Steel Saga prepare yourself for a return to Erdhe which, while darker than any of the preceding books, most definitely deserves its place in the series. If your new to the series stop reading this moment and go buy the first book, it is most certainly a series which gets better with every book and is well worth the investment.
As Erdhe girds for war readers wait in anticipation for The Battle Immortal.