Fallon steps to the frontline of fantasy with Eye of the Labyrinth. Review by Violet Kane

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No writer, that I have yet read, is doing as much to bolster the best trends in mainstream fantasy as Jennifer Fallon.

Eye of the Labyrinth is the second book of Fallon's Second Sons trilogy, however, one of Fallon's greatest talents is in writing sequel books that new readers can pick up without having read the first. Continuing fans needn't worry about skimming through dull recaps, either. Eye of the Labyrinth finds the characters of Ranadon two years after she last left it. Dirk has been working on genius madman Neris Veran, in effort to uncover his secrets and find out when the second sun's orbit will bring the next Age of Shadows. Antonov Latanya, however, still holds out hope that Dirk can be found, brought into his fold, and bred to be installed as the king of Dhevyn—an heir who is rightful, and sympathetic to Latanya. In order to bring Dirk out of hiding, Latanya institutes a sinister plan: upon the death of her husband and only protector, Morna Provin—Dirk's mother—is arrested for her past rebellion and slated to be burned alive at the next Landfall festival. As word of her execution reaches the far shores of Ranadon, Latanya hopes that Dirk will take the bait and arrive on Elcast in the hopes of saving his mother's life.

In this novel, Fallon proves her mettle as a political fantasist. Don't let her previous trilogy, the Hythrun Chronicles, misguide you. While both trilogies show her penchant for characterization, they are very different types of fantasy. The star of her Second Sons trilogy, is not magic, but the motivations and ambitions of political players—the exiled, the royal of bloodline, and the newly elevated upstarts. There are no clear cut alliances in Ranadon, loyalties switch with the crashing tide. Eye of the Labyrinth boasts several twists and turns, as well as some gritty realistic, and potentially disturbing scenes. Make no mistake, this is adult fantasy that explores the moral ambiguity of less-than-virtuous characters. I applaud Fallon for eschewing the tired fantasy standard of good v. evil in order to prize character over concept.

Fallon's Second Sons trilogy, which starts with Lion of Senet, should please fantasy fans looking for a break from endless epics and formula storytelling. After all, the trilogy is already published in its entirety. Eye of the Labyrinth also provides a good cross-over for historical fiction fans or science fiction fans.

Violet "Violanthe" Kane is the Webmaster and Founder of ARWZ.com. She is an editor of ARWZ Literary Zine and is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Medieval studies.

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