Like many others, I too am one of those people who gets to like an author, gets all of their books and goes through them until done. Same here. After a rather random recommendation, I picked up Luck in the Shadows and totally fell in love with Lynn Flewelling’s Nightrunner series (yay for Seregil and Alec 😀 ). After having read the first three Nightrunner books, I picked up her Tamir Triad as well, because Shadows Return wasn’t out yet and a friend recommended them to me because the general premise sounded really intriguing (see my quick review on The Bone Doll’s Twin)
It’s interesting to compare the Tamir trilogy with the Nightrunner series. The most striking differences between the two are probably the pacing and the general mood of the books. Compared to her Nightrunner books, the Tamir triad sets a much slower pace, but then again its focus is centered more on Tobin/Tamir, one character and his coming of age and general background as opposed to two already grown up characters. In Nightrunner, both Seregil and Alec are basically ‘grown up’. Alec is dragged into Seregil’s ambiguous life as foppish noble by day and the Rhiminee Cat by night. Here the premise and the character development itself sets a faster pace, while Tobin/Tamir’s character is basically built up from early childhood as a boy, through his teenage years until ‘he’ finally becomes ‘she’ and lives up to her destiny.
On the mood: The Tamir triad is one of those dark, slightly creepy and disturbing and utterly morally ambiguous series and I think that is – besides Lynn’s amazing characters – probably the thing I enjoyed most about the books. At first, we have our – let me be polemic here – ‘traditional’ black vs. white fantasy setting. Usurper king has taken the throne from his half-sister, thus broke with prophecy that land shall be ruled by a female descendant of the royal line, thus plunges land into chaos and secures his reign by killing off any female heirs who could potentially endanger his claim. So far, nothing really new. We have the bad guys and the good guys who want to restore order and prosperity by helping a newborn girl to fulfill her destiny as the rightful queen. Easy and predictable, right?
Well, not quite. Because what happens if the ‘good guys’ start using dark magic and kill innocents to achieve that goal? And in the process they kill the little princess’ brother, make her live most of her life in the wrong gender, haunted by the ghost of a vengeful demonic brother, unloved by a mother who totally drifts off to madness. Makes you wonder if that’s still the ‘good’ guys we’re talking about, right? Which again raises the question if the ends really justify the means, which pretty much is a central question of the series.
Then again, the bad guys have their moments of awesomeness as well and you almost find yourself liking/pitying some of them, because in the end there’s much of a gray-zone that some of them fall in (and for once I was happy that a particular one of them didn’t get killed off 😉 )
All in all, I still liked the Nightrunner books better, but I loved all the parallels that Lynn played with in the Tamir books that are set about five hundred years in the past of Nightrunner. Loved how some familiar characters showed up and you get to see some Aurenfaie and how Rhimineee was founded 🙂
Again, the Tamir books are character based (Brother and Ki rocked, but I also really liked Arkoniel’s character as well as Eyoli and Caliel 😀 ). Like I said before, I’d probably read the Nightrunner books first, especially to get the ‘bowl’ reference etc. but you can read them in any order. I definitely recommend and am still sad that I’ll have to wait till next summer until Nightrunner book 5, The White Road comes out.