Warlord by Jennifer Fallon. Review by S.K. Slevinski

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In the third and final installment of her Wolfblade prequel trilogy, Jennifer Fallon delivers on reader expectations by offering a well-plotted conclusion that—true to form—doesn't neglect character development.

Warlord picks up as Marla Wolfblade's children have come of age into a world of inter-kingdom intrigue and impending conflict. Her son Damin Wolfblade, heir to the throne of Hythria, is twenty-five and ready to assume the powers of his promised office. But power does not come without responsibility, and he must prove capable at war and politics to survive turbulent times. While Fardohnyah threatens invasion from outside Hythrian borders, Damin must also face potential threat from inside his kingdom—allowing warlords from rival families to come to power could leave his inheritance in jeopardy.

Fallon provides fans with precisely what they're looking for, and so if you've been following along in the Wolfblade trilogy and/or the Hythrun Chronicles you will get the reliably engaging tale you've grown to expect from Fallon. For those who haven't read Fallon yet, this book serves as more proof of what all her books have to recommend them. First is her steadfast treatment of stories in trilogy form—no never-ending series fiction here. You get an epic fantasy on a grand scale tied up neatly in three books. And yet, Fallon retains a remarkable ability to make each book readable from the beginning for new readers. No worries if you haven't read the previous books, Fallon's storytelling lets you pick up right here, right now. Finally, Fallon persists in offering epic political fantasy that prizes character development and resists falling into the "big evil villain" trap. All her characters are just characters, not good or evil, but people with motivations and flaws.

Jennifer Fallon keeps producing engaging fantasy epics in a form that is both grand enough to scratch the "epic" itch but compact enough to deliver a worthy conclusion without letting the story get out of hand.

S.K. Slevinski is senior editor for ARWZ Literary Magazine and a long time reader of alternative reality fiction. She is currently a graduate student, specializing in folklore.

Alternative Reality Web Zine: ISSN# 1559-3037

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