Series: Nightrunner, book 1
Year of publication: 1996
This (IMHO) is fantasy done right. Summary: Alec is a young man falsely imprisoned for spying. He’s rescued by the mysterious Seregil, who takes an unexpected liking to him and takes him on as an apprentice “watcher” — a kind of honorable spy/thief. Most of the book is taken up with Alec and Seregil’s journey to Seregil’s home city of Rhiminee, meeting his wizard friend, Nysander, and uncover a plot against the throne. Seregil is something called an Aurënfaie — a people kind of like Tolkien’s Numenoreans — long lived and beautiful, but not immortal. There are hints that Alec may be at least part Aurënfaie himself, although this is not revealed.
Thoughts: Although a lot of time is spent on world-building, it doesn’t get tedious or boring. The world is quite complex, but well-crafted and not hard to understand.The relationship between Alec and Seregil is developing sloooow — I’d almost say too slow, but I like the build of tension and anticipation, and the solid character development. Still, by the end of the book all we’ve got is some hints and a few charged looks. On the one hand, I’d have liked a bit more romantic action; on the other hand, Alec is only 15 while Seregil – though he still looks like a young man – is fifty-something. Hopefully a few more years will pass between the next few books in the series!
Flewelling’s writing is solid, deliberate, and complex. This was a thoroughly enjoyable read.