Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Wind of Truth

I truly wasn't expecting to say this, but Wind of Truth is actually pretty good.

It's the final installment in the Four Winds series,detailing the exploits of Sezaru and bringing the saga to its conclusion.

As I've said before the portrayal of Magic is something I always struggle with in fantasy novels in general and in Rokugan in particular, but in this case Ree Soesbee managed to deftly avoid most of the pitfalls associated with magic by focusing on the investigation of artifacts and making Sezaru always wary of unleashing his power. In fact there is a recurring theme of self-control and responsability on Sezaru's character

There are of course issues. The main theme of the novel is balance which is something I loathe, and there are some strange continuity problems, all the more so because the contradictions were not so much with then L5R canon, altough there is a strange scene in Crab lands, but with story points Ree Soesbee herself had writen when story team lead.

And just while I mention it, the last chapter has long uncredited sections taken from Rich Wulf's final fiction from the Gold arc. This isn't plagiarism, of course as it was almost definitely authorized, or at least allowed under the terms of the WotC/AEG license, but I'm always a bit disappointed when I find out a writer's work isn't at the very least aknowledged.

Another thing that at some point had me worried was the possibility that Wind of Truth wouldn't bring closure on the Four Winds saga, but as stated above that was not the case with this book published after the end of Gold. On the other hand, with these books being used to characterize each of the Winds I can't help but feel that Sezaru got the short end of the stick with his book being published after it could be used to influence tournament player choices.

Considering that the Tsudao book, and the book I shall not name were really poor showings Naseu ended up being the most fortunate character in terms of story time.

Still I feel this was the best of the Four Winds book and would easily recommend it for what it is.

As a final noter Ree Soesbee also introduced three minor families in this novel, the Fujitze which are Akodo vassals, the Sezu, which are, probably, Crane vassals and the Mariashi which are likely to be Crab vassals. Good times!

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