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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sanctuary by Mercedes Lackey

Sanctuary by Mercedes Lackey. New York: Daw Books, Inc., 2005. No ISBN listed.

This is, according to the cover, “Book 3 of The Dragon Jousters,” the preceding titles being Joust, 2003 and Alta, 2004. So will this be the last, leaving us with a proper trilogy? Or will Ms. Lackey continue on, more in the vein of her Valdemar stories, of which there must be over 20 by now? Three is enough, but in the storyline, as developed thus far, there is certainly room for further expansion.

In this tale, matters come to a decisive head in the conflict between and against the evil magi who now control both of the rival kingdoms of Alta and Tia. Many folks, led by the remaining dragon-riding jousters, have fled to the desert city they call Sanctuary, and are setting up a society that combines the best of both kingdoms.

Initially, the story gets bogged down in the logistical details involved in creating a new city and way of life, but Lackey manages to create plenty of excitement and dramatic suspense as the conflict draws to a conclusion, and the Altan inner circle quite literally collapses under its own weight.

As with most of this author's work, The Dragon Jousters series skirts the border between the young adult and regular adult fantasy genres, appealing to readers of both. Although I still think Joust, the first in the series, is by far the best, featuring as it did, a quintessential coming of age story combined with a boy scheming to acquire his own dragon. The follow-ups have been entertaining, but shallower. Marginally recommended for fans of the series, and of the author.

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