Friday, August 15, 2014

12. Unforsaken Hiero by Sterling E. Lanier

I read this book during our rainy vacation in the Gatineau region of Quebec in August, but I am only now getting around to writing the review.  My memory is fuzzy.  The Unforsaken Hiero is the sequel to  Hiero's Journey and basically continues the saga.  The story this time gets deeper into the civilizations to the south.  Hiero ends up marrying a princess from the kingdom of D'waleh which is sort of like a post-apocalyptic liberal east coast world, where they are enlightened and welcome many faiths.  The Unclean are everywhere of course and their machinations result in the mellow kingdom being nearly destroyed and Hiero kidnapped.  He escapes and the second half of the book is his epic journey across the wastelands where some really cool encounters happen, including the mutated giant telepathic snail.

Overall, though, this one feels rushed compared to the first.  Too much of the world is revealed too quickly, so that it loses its sense of mystery.  The larger scale political conflicts come to the fore, but the scope is not wide enough to make it really satisfying.  It is still enjoyable, but I think I would have preferred everything to have been slowed down, even if that may have been frustrating to me as an adolescent.  It felt like Lanier was trying to pack everything into this book so he could deliver a more satisfying conclusion (perhaps at an editor's pressuring).  But this story began as a hero's journey type of story and the slow growth of Hiero's knowledge and powers was what made the first book so enjoyable.  Ironically, it ends on a cliffhanger with the fate of his princess still not resolved.

Still, an enjoyable read and the whole section with the giant snail was awesome.

1 comment:

RJR said...

The Original is one of my favorite Fantasy books, along with Keith Laumer's Dinosaur Beach and Zelazney's first two Amber books. I keep those on my shelves.