Thursday, September 20, 2007

Clan Daughter - Final Review

CLAN DAUGHTER lived up to the high expectations set by King's Property. I enjoyed it very much. In CLAN DAUGHTER, Dar has promised the orcs that she would take them home. Since they recognized her as a mother in King's Property, she becomes the authority figure. They set off to the north, and are in desperate straights because (1) the orcs must stay hidden and (2) they have no way of getting food.

The conflict between Dar and one of the other orcs continues to be her adversary. However, this situation unexpectedly resolves about 1/3 of the way through the book, leaving little conflict among the group. The novel never dragged, but the conflict made it a bit more exciting . . . for a while.

During their journeys, Dar meets an old man who was reborn as an orc, and the time she spends with him shapes the rest of the book. Eventually, her and Kovok-mah fall in love. This causes surprisingly little conflict with the rest of the group, but I could see it because the orcs regard her as an authority figure.

Eventually she meets other orcs and they make a journey from clan to clan. Here is where I encountered one of my few quibbles with the plot. Much is made of the fact that orcs cannot lie, and Kovok-mah cannot even seem to comprehend the meaning of a lie. However . . . few other orcs have this problem. I hate to say it, but it makes Kovok-mah seem simpleminded in comparison. Who knows . . . maybe he is supposed to be simpleminded. However, he has healing talents and he alone can speak fluent human, so that doesn't seem simpleminded to me.

Anyway, Dar keeps encountering deceit among the orcs and has a surprisingly hard time detecting it in orcs, even though they are supposed to be bad at it.

Eventually, her travels take her back to the king's army, where she reunites with both Koh and Sevren. Surprising things happen here; no longer are her visions plot spoilers at this point. During the final conflict, I did think that Dar did some foolish things, which seem all the more foolish because she behaved so wisely up to this point.

It was a good ending, where a conflict was resolved, where an unexpected death occurs, where Dar goes through a transformation, where Koh and the King's Mage get away, and where Sevren does something that I never expected. The final volume comes out in five days, and I imagine that a lot of people will be buying it. All in all, I think it was a good move on Del Rey's part to release the book in quick succession. Interest in the book will remain high because the first two books were so well-written.

It turns out that this series was only a quasi-debut -- the name is new but the author is not, since Morgan Howell is a pen name. The experience of the author probably explains its excellence. If this series holds up through book 3, then I think the name Morgan Howell will become quite well-known. Highly recommended.

Clan Daughter (UK, Canada)
Morgan Howell's Website (forthcoming)


Robert said...

Sounds like I should be checking out "King's Daughter" ;)

Tia Nevitt said...

The name of the first book is King's Property. Did I screw up somewhere in my post? If so, I couldn't spot it. It got confusing because Nathalie Mallet has a book coming out called King's Daughter.