Saturday 2 July 2011

The Ordeal of Fire (The Tree of Life Book 2) - Steven Smith

Title: The Ordeal of Fire (The Tree of Life Book 2)
Author: Steven Smith
Genre: Fantasy
Published: 2010
Formats: Ebook / Paperback

Available at:
Amazon UK
Barnes & Nobel
Lulu (Ebook Here)

I recently read the first book in this proposed trilogy which I reviewed here and really enjoyed it, therefore I was looking forward to reading this novel.

The book basically continues the adventures of Elowen Aubyn, who is forced to undertake a new quest to discover the Four Mysteries, ancient artifacts that hold the key to finding the Tree of Life and defeating Prester John. Along this journey she meets slave traders, kings, strange creatures and uncovers several secrets that will change her life forever. In addition to this, we also get to read about what has happened to both Bo and Black Francis in their own attempts to undermine Prester John.

I have to admit that I enjoyed the first book more than this one, it did feel at times like it was being used to create scenarios and provide information that will be needed for the third novel. However, I did still enjoy "The Ordeal of Fire" as there was intrigue, adventure and action throughout the book. I specifically liked the parts of the storyline involving Bo and they really had me hooked as I find him to be a very interesting and decent character and the action around his part in story was fast paced and exciting.

Smith continues to expand upon the very varied world and characters he had created which enhances the reader's understanding of some of the incidents that occured in the first novel. I still feel however that some of the secondary characters were not developed much more beyond what we saw in the first novel and most of them seemed sidelined for new characters. However, I will say that some of the new characters introduced really did add to the story and some of them were actually developed in a fair bit of detail. It was just a shame in my opinion that Diggory and Black Francis weren't really expanded or utilised much in addition to these new and interesting characers we were introduced to.

To summarise, if you enjoyed "The Map of the Known World" then there is no doubt you will enjoy "The Ordeal of Fire". It is full of intrigue, treachery and excitement like many other Fantasy epics. However, the interesting and varied characters really enhanced the overall story and it is them that really make it a great read. In all honesty, I can't wait to read the third novel in this series.


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