Stalking Darkness by Lynn Flewelling

Series: Nightrunner, book 2

Genre: Fantasy

Year of publication: 1997

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

Summary: Picking up where the last book left off, Alec and Seregil must unravel the mysterious plot they find themselves caught up in. It seems that necromancers from an enemy country want to resurrect an ancient war god, who will give them the power to conquer the neighboring lands of Skala and Mycena — and perhaps even Seregil’s homeland, Aurënen. As Seregil and Alec try to discover the enemy’s plan, they also discover more about themselves. Alec learns he is indeed half Aurenfaie, meaning he will live as long as Seregil — somewhere around 400-500 years. Seregil learns that he has fallen in love with Alec; and eventually, after some education at the hands of a beautiful female courtesan, a few moments of confusion, and a long separation, Alec realizes that he loves Seregil as well.

I was sad to see one of my favorite characters depart at the end of this book, although it seems another may be fit to take his place. The loss has a deep effect on Seregil, and for a while it seems that his grief might be stronger than his love. In the end though, Alec and Seregil finally confess their love for each other, and set off for parts unknown.

Thoughts: Flewelling is a good writer. The plot is strong, and the characters are solid, well-developed, and engaging. It’s easy to love the good guys, and hate the bad guys. Reading these reminds me of what reading used to feel like as a kid, when I would devour series like Brian Jacques’ Redwall books, or Tamora Pierce’s earlier stuff. It’s pure entertainment, and it’s great.

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Luck in the Shadows by Lynn Flewelling

Series: Nightrunner, book 1

Genre: Fantasy

Year of publication: 1996

Rating: ♥♥♥♥

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.