Review of THE WYRMLING HORDE by David Farland (see his website)
RUNELORDS BOOK 7
Tor, September 2008
After bringing together two of the millions of millions of world into which the one true world splintered, Fallion is captured by the man who would have been his father--but whose brain is controlled by Lord Despair--the immortal responsible for the true world's disintegration. Despair wants the power to bring the worlds together--but only under his control. Unfortunately for Fallion, Despair seems fully capable of doing just that, especially as his Earth King abilities provide him ample warning of any threat.
Fallion is not without friends and this new world has an abundance of the blood-metal used to become a Runelord, to borrow attributes from one person or being and give them to another. Fallion's friends are able to gain control of thousands of runesticks and a small group are named, given hundreds of attributes (intelligence, speed, stamina, brawn, sight, beauty) for their assault on Despair. Meanwhile, Despair has come up with a new torture. Rather than use the runes to transfer ability, he uses them to transfer pain--vectoring dozens of tortures to Fallion. Even if the rescue is successful, what will the heroes find?
Author David Farland (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Farland) continues his intriguing RUNELORDS series with a story that's clearly transitional. Fallion, the main protagonist for the last several books, becomes a bit player as a pair of women and the alter-ego of a man who was the great evil on Fallion's original version of Earth combine forces in their attempt to save him. In earlier books, Farland dealt with the moral issues in taking attributes--essentially snuffing out a part of the life of the dedicates from whom these attributes are taken. Here, Farland touches lightly on this, having his characters justify their decision as necessity.
I really enjoyed the concept of Despair as an Earth King--something his alternate self showed from the other side. I also appreciated Farland's decision to show that extreme violence does not always offer the best path, and that the ends cannot always justify any means. And Farland's capable writing kept me involved in the story.
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