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Reviews of 'Sister of the Sword'

Sister of the Sword

by Tonya C. Cook & Paul B. Thompson
Barbarians, Volume 3

Reviews of 'Sister of the Sword'

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Reviewer: Cassandra Jacobs

Rating: Stars

The third book in the Barbarians trilogy, this book picks up where the second book left off... in the middle of a brutal war, with the raiders having a strong advantage over the village, and the downfall of Amero looking imminent. The raiders have allied themselves with ogres and the wall to the village is crumbling.

Nianki, Amero's sister and fierce nomad chieftain, arrives in time to come to the villagers' rescue, although the casualties are immense. Even Duranix the dragon and the evil green Sthenn arrive, and have their final battle, to the green dragon's demise. With their enemies vanquished, all that is left is how to deal with some of the prisoners.

Once again, the characters in this book are strong and evoke powerful feelings, sometimes love and concern, other times hatred. Nacris, Nianki's bitter enemy from the first book Children of the Plains is prisoner of the nomad band, as is Zannian, her adopted son and leader of the raiders. I felt strong hatred towards the hate filled woman, yet her insanity and evil were very powerful and made me think twice about hate. Her son tended to evoke pity, as he was a product of his environment... raised by the evil Nacris, fueled by the green dragon's poisonous teachings. My theories were correct, and Zannian did wind up being the long lost brother of Amero and Nianki... rescued years earlier by Sthenn, who was curious to learn about humans. Brother and sister are unsure as to how to deal with this man, as he was responsible for so many deaths.

A character introduced in Brother of the Dragon also played a vital role. Mara, one of the servants of the dragon, has adopted Nianki as her master, after being rescued from elven slavery. Her mind has been molded so severely by Tiphon, the priest running the dragon worshippers; she's easy prey for any person who shows dominance and power. She's shown devotion to the elven masters and now to Nianki, with disastrous results. I also felt pity for her, regarding her growing jealousy of everyone around her that might interfere with her relationship with the nomad chief. You could see the seed of insanity, created by her previous abuse and fueled by her emotions, growing over the last two books.

One aspect of these books that I found very interesting was the elven general Balif, who had been fighting Nianki's band for years. Taken prisoner by her band, he and several elven fighters eventually join the war, fighting with the nomads and villagers to defeat the raiders and the ogres. A grudging respect between all the humans and the elves grows, and I found it very fascinating to see an elf with such an open mind towards peace with the humans.

My one major gripe was the insinuation that Balif was destined to become a kender. I know the origins of the kender are clouded in mystery, due to several conflicting sources that have been published over the years, along with the mentions of a character named Balif being both a Silvanesti elven general, as well as a close kender friend of the Silvanesti elven king, but having this confirm it kind of burned my buns... Probably for two reasons: a) I don't believe the kender originated from the elves and b) I like to think they were possibly descended from the elves, but I don't want it written anywhere. I know that sounds confusing, but in general, I like to keep that concept shrouded in mystery... all writings indicate the gnomish origin, but there's a possibility of elven ancestry, but no one knows for sure... much to the elves disconcertion.

Overall, an amazing trilogy. It's authors like this that Dragonlance needs, as well as stories such as these, delving into the past and history of Krynn.

Review made May 31st, 2002.

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