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Reviews of 'Betrayal'

Betrayal

by Jean Rabe
Dhamon Saga, Volume 2


Reviews of 'Betrayal'

Here are the visitor reviews we have of Betrayal. For more information about this title, please visit the item detail page.


Reviewer: Cassandra Jacobs

Rating: Stars

The second novel in the Dhamon Saga, this story picks up several days after the final events in Downfall.

Dhamon is still searching for a cure for the dragon scale embedded on his leg. His group has shrunk to just him and Maldred, the ogre crown prince. Their travels take them into trouble, time and again, crossing paths with the spawn and minions of Sable, the black dragon overlord.

Through it all, the reader can see Dhamon's honor slowly returning. He keeps trying to focus only on himself and his goals, but somehow, he chooses the good path more often than not. He's still a brigand and a thief, stealing and killing when the opportunity presents itself, but it's obvious he is fighting inner demons.

I'm very impressed with this series so far. There's nothing "amazing" that stands out about it, but the overall story is what I would consider "perfect". The writing blends very well with the storyline, which develops the characters at a good pace. There are several plotlines, and Rabe weighs them all very carefully, giving each just the right amount of attention. On top of that, in both Downfall and Betrayal, there's a catch right at the very end... a twist in the plot that was not hinted at throughout the entire story, but will affect the book following. It makes me really anticipate the third book of the series.

That's it for this review. It's a great series... it hasn't disappointed me yet. In fact, book 2 was even better than the first one.

Review made August 6th, 2004.


Reviewer: Craig J. Ries

Rating: Stars

Much like the first book, the cover art is pretty good on Betrayal. A nice backdrop of an area they explore in the book with Dhamon on the right and I'm assuming Maldred (in his human guise) on the left.

When people heard about Rabe writing a new trilogy, there was some grumbling... that grumbling turned into a pretty noticeable roar when we found out that this new trilogy was going to be hardcover. Well, Downfall was pretty good, but overall, Betrayal isn't as good as Downfall. I don't even think the title fits the book very well.

The end of Downfall leaves Dhamon and his band tromping around the lands of Blode, with the possibility of a big-time run in with Sable. Unfortunately, Betrayal does not deliver, and the whole book is spent with this little girl named Nura (the one people thought could've been Mina) testing Dhamon to find out if he is a sort of "Chosen One."

Nura turns out to be a naga (who also makes prayers to a "True God" and "Ancients") and is one of a multitude of creatures that have never been seen before in the books. Typical Rabe, really. The battle with the spiders, in particular, people will probably find quite reminsicent of the battle of Dhamon against the KoT in her first trilogy.

Like Dragons of a Lost Star, the title has little to do with the meaning of the book, and I find that there is at least one other parallel between the two books: both books end on a low note, in my opinion...It is only at the end of Betrayal that you find out who is out to betray Dhamon, but even then you don't know why.

The only characters that get any development are Dhamon and Muldred, who happens to be an ogre Titan (whee!), but I don't think he was called a Titan a single time in the whole book, sadly. There was a lot of use of spawn and even the creation of abominations... and the way in which it is done would lead people to believe that all of Ansalon is under a much larger threat than they thought. We find out Rikali is pregnant with Dhamon's kid, but she's married to an elf half her age named Varek. Varek is supposedly 19, which I guess puts him on the level with Gilthas. No matter, I suppose, since both essentially "fall of the face of the earth" a bit over 3/4th the way of the book.

The use of Rig and Fiona was quite irritating as well. They get some focus in the first few chapters of the book, then disappear, then reappear toward the end of the book when Dhamon accidentally releases them from a prison. THEN Rig is unceremoniously killed (or it at least appears that way) and Fiona seems to have been driven mad by the whole experience.

A couple of little qualms and a fairly large couple with this book. Didn't see any of the little typo problems we've had in the past few books, and it was a bit odd to see Silvanesti spelled "Sylvanesti" at one point, but other than that everything seemed to be in order.

The map shows NONE of the little towns they visit along the way, only marking out Shrentak, "Ogre lands," the Silvanesti Forest, some other city they mention but didn't seem to visit, and the Plains of Dust.

Big qualms: Not only is there a centuries old "sorceress" named Maab, but she's supposed to be a Black Robe sorceress? She'd be a magi! Not only that, but she has the power to HEAL!? Thankfully the new Sivak on the block, Ragh, took care of her.

I like Ragh :) He's quite the unique Sivak. Quite a change from even those draconians in Perrin/Weis books.

The other big qualm was the whole setup of the book: Betrayal. The beginning of the book has Nura talking with her "Master", presumably Sable, and again at the end of the book. Otherwise, Sable isn't even used. At one point you think she's been found, but it is supposed to be another unnamed black dragon. However, one interesting point about this scene is that this dragon is protecting one of Sable's dragon totems. The totems are described again and are given even more detail (possibly showing that the way Sable has her totems is unique compared to other Overlords). Very nice way of using the totem, in my opinion.

Oh, another tidbit: Dhamon gets into it with Donnag, Muldred's ogre-chieftain father, over Wyrmsbane, claiming the sword is false and Tanis probably never owned it. I loved that scene as well, considering that some of us had doubted the way the sword was used to begin with.

Still, Betrayal was not disappointing and I look forward to the third book of the trilogy (entitled Redeemption).

Originally posted Wed, Jun 13, 2001 on the Dragonlance-L mailing list.


Reviewer: Matt Lynch

Rating: Stars

After what I believed was a stellar step in the right direction for Jean Rabe to regain her credibility with the DL audience in Downfall, she comes back with another solid effort in Betrayal, the second of three books chronicling the post-Dragons of a New Age adventures of Dhamon Grimwulf, Rig Mer-Krel, and Fiona Quinti. While not on the level of Downfall, Betrayal was a good book. Here's a brief summary.

Following the freeing of the slaves from Takar (I think) in Downfall, Dhamon and Maldred returned to Blode to "renegotiate" with Donnag. After Dhamon threatened and beat on the ogre king, he was given an enchanted map that detailed how to unearth a lost pirate treasure and find a legendary healer who might be able to help him. Rig and Fiona attempted to fight all the way to Shrentak, but wound up turning back after only a few days. While en route to the Plains of Dust to find the treasure, Dhamon and Mal enjoy some ministrations from some local women of ill repute. They drug and incapacitate the duo and rob them blind, which included taking Wyrmsbane. Before they can do in our antiheroes, they are rescued by a very unlikely heroine... who then needs some rescuing of her own.

I won't reveal any more, but suffice it to say that's only the first few chapters. I'll do a quick character breakdown now, just to see how they've changed over the course of two books.

Dhamon Grimwulf: Still the same nihilistic bastard he was in Downfall, although a recent change in his condition has made him out to be even more short-tempered and introverted. The revelation of his imminent fatherhood seems to intrude upon his reality a bit, but it isn't until he relives the events that led him to this point that his facade cracks a bit and some of the old hero starts to shine through. Redemption should be interesting.

Maldred Donnagson (?): Still the most intelligent character Rabe has ever come up with, Maldred hasn't changed a bit since Downfall and looks to remain the same all the way through this little experience. However, the end of the book reveals some of the ogre mage's motivations, which may make reading his scenes even more interesting in Redemption.

Ragh: New character, a maimed sivak draconian, one with revenge on his mind. Ragh is done very well, made out to be an emotional character and not just a cookie-cutter humanoid tack-on like Fetch was for the most part in Downfall. The lack of wings (they were cut off) and his hatred of being enslaved make him more volatile and explosive than Dhamon. He was a real treat to read about and I look forward to seeing him get his vengeance on Nura Bint-Drax.

Nura Bint-Drax: the cute little child sorceress who stole Reorx's Grin in Downfall, Nura is a servant of a very powerful-sounding black dragon (likely Sable) who claims to be testing Dhamon on the dragon's behalf, claiming he's the "one." Nura is actually a naga, we learn, but only appears occasionally. Good example of a "minion" enemy from the 5th Age boxed set. Still, I can't wait for her to bite it, as she's a bit annoying.

Rikali Lockwood: Yep, she's back, but is more tolerable in Betrayal. Married and still pregnant, Rikali follows Dhamon and Maldred out to the Plains of Dust to get a cut of the treasure, claiming they owe her. When the group gets arrested by Legionnaires, she and her husband, a young man named Varek Lockwood, are set free after she incriminates Dhamon and Maldred for all their acts. Not exactly a loyal character, but much more tolerable than she was in Downfall.

Fetch: Just kidding, he's still dead.

Varek Lockwood: A minor character for the most part, Varek is the naive adventurer, along for the ride, mostly. He manages to lose half a leg, but do to the nature of his character and Riki's in this book, I don't think we'll see him again to see how it affects his psyche.

I didn't go into Rig and Fiona because they're not much different and are barely in the book. The only other important character, Maab, was the stereotypical mad witch.

So, to wrap things up, Betrayal was a solid read and has some surprises that have me once again looking forward to the next installment. I'll make the prediction now that Dhamon will likely redeem himself posthumously in Redemption by taking out one of the big guns in the 5th Age. As for Nura, I don't see her being much more of a factor. Ragh's story could be expanded upon later by Jean and I hope it is. Rikali and Varek are probably gone from the series for now, as they both believe Dhamon was hanged. Much as I despised her character in Downfall, I'm glad the loose end was tied up.

The most interesting part of the whole book was a line that referred to Dhamon's assassination of Goldmoon as being prevented by Rig and friends, a direct retcon of The Day of the Tempest. Seems that entire ending is being ignored and they are going with the scenario from the modules. Good move, in my opinion, even if it hurts the credibility of the first 5th Age trilogy. There was no good way to fix that situation, but by pretending it never happened, it makes it easier to swallow War of Souls and The Eve of the Maelstrom.

So, all in all, a good book and another good job by Rabe. Highly recommended.


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