Book Review

The Kaerling Books

The Kaerling Trilogy by Freya Pickard.

Freya Pickard’s book are always readable and I highly recommend them to anyone interested in her unique take on the fantasy genre.

It has been my intention for some time to write a review of ‘Ambassador’, book 2 of Freya’s Kaerling trilogy. I read book 1, ‘Silver Fire,’ some time ago when it first came out and decided I needed to re-read it before reading book 2. It was then that I realised it would be impossible to review book 2 without reference to book 1 so this is ending up as a sort of joint review of both books.

Freya is a master of suspense, she keeps you guessing at every turn. One reason she is so successful in this is that the reader is as much in the dark as her protagonists, there very few clues and only slight hints as to what is going on. This is in evidence in all her previous books and is a strategy continued with aplomb in this new trilogy.

So Book 1, ‘Silver Fire’ sets the scene.  I don’t want to give too much of the story away but twins Otta and Erl, who, along with their family, are different from and only barely accepted by the other villagers, find themselves outcast for angering the gods. The two young people flee the village, pursued by the villagers who want them dead. Otta is also driven by a quest she doesn’t fully understand, to follow the Unicorn’s trail, whilst dragging along her twin Erl, who has lost his memory. The fact that they are twins is highly significant but for reasons not revealed and, at this stage, only hinted at.

Book 2, ‘Ambassador’ picks up where ‘Silver Fire’ ends, the twins have managed to keep ahead of their pursuers and Erl is beginning to put some fragments of his life back in place.  Having rescued a child at the end of book 1 they take refuge for a season in the city of Aura Vere. Otta is mistaken for an Ambassador of the feared Kaerling people and is forced to lead a double life while questioning her own identity. Eventually Otta realises they are still in danger, now from the Kaerling, It becomes necessary to flee the city to avoid capture and continue with their quest to once more find and follow the Unicorn’s Trail.

The books are well written, well plotted and easy to read. In fact they are difficult to put down.; the reader really wants to discover what is going on and who these young people really are. If I have any criticism it is that in ‘Silver Fire’ nothing is completed. Normally in a trilogy each part is almost complete in itself; although the over arching story-line continues there is a smaller arc in each volume. With these books the smaller story arc you would expect in book 1 does not return to a still point, it leaves you hanging half-way up the mountain, so to speak and there is no return down the other side of the arc until partway into book 2 when Otta and Erl arrive at Aura Vere.

Is this a clever ploy on the part of the author? By cutting it where she did Freya certainly drives the reader on to reach eagerly for the next instalment. Neither book is overly long and I can’t help feeling that maybe they are simply two parts of one volume. The second book, ‘Ambassador’ does end at a natural ‘breathing point’ in the story, but by then you are well and truly gripped and can’t wait for the next instalment.

This slight quibble on my part certainly does not detract from the storyline. If it was an intentional ploy to end book 1 at this unresolved point then it is an unconventional master stroke by an unconventional author, it grabs the reader by the scruff of the neck, urging him or her to read on. As for me? I’m hooked, I can’t wait for book 3, which I understand is due out later this year.

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‘Silver Fire’ and ‘Ambassador’ (Books 1 and 2 of the Kaerling trilogy) are available from Amazon.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. dragonscaleclippings
    Jan 18, 2019 @ 14:32:22

    Wow! Thank you so much for this excellent review, Libby!

    Reply

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