Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Ruler of the Realm by Herbie Brennan

Ruler of the Realm is book three in the Faerie Wars series and follows the tale of Pyrgus, his sister Holly Blue and Henry, a boy from the analogy world, i.e. our world. Holly Blue suddenly finds herself Ruler of the Faerie Realm after her brother Pyrgus abdicates out of personal and political reasons. The arrangement suits both of them, although Holly is still quite young and must now find her way in the world of politics and political intrigue. She’s not allowed much respite between her coronation and her first political crises. The Realm’s enemies, The Faeries of the Night, have suddenly and unexpectedly offered her a peace treaty and she doesn’t know whether or not she can trust it to be a true offer or if it’s simply a ruse. Being a self-reliant person, she reasons that it’s better for the Realm if she personally sets off in search of the answer. This sets off a chain of reactions that does indeed lead the realm into danger.

In the meantime, in the analogue world, Henry is slowly beginning to believe that he’s slowly going insane, that the Faerie Realm doesn’t exist at all, but is simply his mind’s way of escaping the chaos in his real life. His parents are divorced, his father has a new girlfriend, his mother has a new girlfriend, who is coming to live with them, both parents are playing the kids off one another and his sister is simply annoying. Why then would he not want to live in a new and exciting world with faeries and magic rather than in his own life? This idea solidifies after he is seemingly abducted by aliens and returned to earth days later. He must be going crazy, mustn’t he?

It’s a bit difficult for me to judge this one. I like the characters and the story is complicated and cleverly woven which holds your interest. What surprised me was that after weaving such a complex tale, Brennan suddenly, truly abruptly, ends the story. It almost felt like the climax was just completely cut out. And I actually went back to see if I’d not been paying attention. It was very odd and quite unsatisfying, almost like dropping your ice cream half way through. You’ve had too much to want another cone, but not quite enough all the same. Having said that, I can see that there’s room for more in this series and I would read them if there were.

My second beef wasn’t actually with the story and has no reflection on the book itself. I listened to this one in audio book format. The first two were narrated by Gerard Doyle, who is an excellent narrator. For whatever reason, they switched to a different narrator, James Daniel Wilson, for the third book. Now it would be unfair to hint that Wilson isn’t a good narrator, because he is and I would gladly listen to other books he narrated. However, it bugged me to no end that he changed some of the pronunciations for this third novel. It took me a while to figure out that the new character wasn’t actually a new character, but one of the main characters Pyrgus. His pronunciation was completely different and that threw me. In my opinion, everyone would have been better served had he stuck to the same pronunciations in this volume as in the others. It took me personally half the book to get used to it and I find it difficult to rate this book because of the change. I don’t know whether I’m rating fairly or not. However, since I have to rate it somehow, I’ll give it a 3 out of 5, but keep in mind that it might be better with the same narrator or read on paper.


Lady Rook said...

Am catching up with your interesting reviews since, um, January *hides* and I just about died laughing at your ice cream analogy. Fantastic. :D

Lady Rook said...

Commenting again cos I forgot to tick the email follow-up comments box. *sigh*