Science fiction and fantasy
The House of Gaian
by Anne Bishop
Dianna is the Huntress and the self-centred leader of the Fae, but her powers are said to be waning. What happens next isn't much of a surprise, but whether or not the Fae can accept it is another matter. They are not too happy about having to protect the witches in order to preserve their own world, and they will have to make sacrifices if the Master Inquisitor and his army are to be defeated.
Meanwhile the Master Inquisitor is preparing another weapon in his macabre way. In some almost gleeful scenes of torture and horror he works his own magic to create monsters.
There are signs of impending doom as Morag and Selena are haunted by nightmares. Liam, Breanna and Falco are at Willowsbrook preparing for the worst, whilst nearly everyone else appears to be heading in that direction ready for a final battle. As a Daughter of the House of Gaian, Selena commands some powerful magic, perhaps too powerful. There is never any doubt about which side will prevail. However there are a couple of good twists at the end which keep the story from being too formulaic.
The main problem with The House of Gaian is that there are too many characters and side-plots. This makes it hard to get involved with any one character's storyline, or even to remember what their significance was in the earlier books. Jenny, Mihail and the Selkies have their story, as do Ashk and Padrick, Ari and Neall, Lucian, Breanna and Falco, Morag, Dianna, and so on. There is no single central character, and this lack of a personal focus means that there is little overt romance in this book, which is a shame because romance is one of Anne Bishop's strengths.
The above is not to say that The House of Gaian is confusing. As the characters come together to do battle it knits together into a coherent story. The moral distinctions between one side and the other are blurred as the witches are forced to use their magic as a weapon in order to survive. It raises some interesting points about personal responsibility and the short-sightedness of being selfish. Unfortunately this book loses its impact because the personal involvement with each character is spread too thinly, and it's ultimately not as moving as it might have been.
If you like this, try:Rhapsody by Elizabeth Haydon
This fantasy begins a trilogy of magic, intrigue and epic scope.
Review © Ros Jackson
Read more about Anne Bishop