© Paul Park.
This is the third volume of a four-book fantasy epic. I reviewed the first two, “A Princess of Roumania” and “The Tourmaline” earlier on this blog, and brought this one with me to read on the plane going to and from San Diego.
I liked this one more than “The Tourmaline.” The miasma of vagueness that beset that book lifts in this one, and at least some of what happened previously I now understand better. And I’m hoping that the fourth book will make more things clear. The dreamlike otherworldly state that Miranda, the heir to the throne of this world’s powerful country of Roumania, entered last time is entered again, but this time in a way and to purposes I understood. The tangled web of this alternate-Earth’s politics and intrigues were a little clearer. The dual or tri-part nature of Miranda’s two companions were explained more. And the richly complex villainy of Baroness Ceaucescu followed its usual gripping descent ever further into self-denial and evil to what seems to be a fitting resolution. The police chief Luckacz becomes more sympathetic as he falls further and further from the goals of his office in the spell of the Baroness. And a new magical device is revealed in the revolver that Miranda had been carrying around all last book, one that is much more interesting to me than the Tourmaline.
The testimonials on the covers of these books are by writers I like and respect, such as Ursula K. LeGuin, Kelly Link and Terry Bisson. That made my problems with the series so far all the more puzzling to me. Author Paul Park writes with great skill, with well-chosen words and terrific characters…it’s just his plotting that left me behind. Maybe now I’m catching up.
Recommended, though I’ll wait for the fourth book to really decide what I think of the series as a whole.