Review: The Serpent Bride

The Serpent Bride The Serpent Bride by Sara Douglass
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

About five years have passed since the fall of Tencendor to the Time-Keeper Demons and the conclusion of Douglass's previous (and second) trilogy, Wayfarer Redemption. But rest of the largely unexplored world continues. King Maximillian of Escator has been offered a bride from Ishbel, a woman who comes from the Serpent's Nest, a curious cult with macabre practices. Meanwhile the Tyrant of Isembaard is beginning to put into an action that will ruin the kingdoms to the north, including Maximillian's. Powerful forces are at play which results in the return from the world beyond of Douglass's premier hero, Axis Sunsoar and even, his father, Stardrifter. There's a lot that is happening in this novel and like many of Douglass's works, she keeps the story going; it's not like other epic fantasies where you can go hundreds of pages without anything happening. In this first of the trilogy, the world is turned upside down again and we get to enjoy seeing a different side of Axis--a more human one not seen since BattleAxe, the first book in the entire series. What I like even more about this book is that Douglass interweaves her two single novels (Beyond the Hanging Wall and Threshold) as integral parts of this story. One does not have to have read them to fully understand as she does create opportunities for readers to get filled in, but it certainly helps. Finally, it also becomes a recurring (and insider joke for those who have read the previous trilogies), about the havoc that always comes in the path of people (particularly, women) who associate with the Sunsoars; in many ways, this feels like Douglass's wink to avid fans and their critiques. If you're looking for an enjoyable and active epic fantasy, Douglass is definitely the read to go with.

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