Broken Promise is the third part of the Broken ones series, a series I must confess I haven’t been actually been reading, or even aware of thus far in my life. But how bad an idea can it be, after all everyone always says a series is at its peak on the third entry. So I figured using my keen mind and hard earned English degree I would be able to piece together the bits I’ve missed and let you know if this one is any good.
The Broken Ones
The Saga Continuums
The Story So Far
Arowyn is a young girl growing up a house full of boys no doubt helping her father with the farm. Why up and coming adventurers are always farmers I don’t know, maybe the skill set just swaps over fairly easy or something.
Anyway things are going okay until slavers make land just outside the town and go on a full on sacking and pillaging rampage. Arowyn along with the practically ancient thirty year old Bo and her mysterious orphan friend Kei manage to get themselves captured. Just when they think things can’t get worse however, their boat sinks and they are forced to swim the rest of the way to the same Euorpean based fantasy land everybody has been running around in since Bilbo wondered why some crazy guy in a pointy hat was bothering during his smoke break.
With nothing better to do Arowyn gathers a fellowship of a bird house, a biblical reference and a werewolf who can’t change out of wolf form; so a slightly more intelligent wolf than normal I guess. Once the party is sorted they set out on a quest and settle for rescuing an Elven prince and returning him home. After crossing the required eight levels and springing him from the tallest tower they make their way to Riverward first encountering a dragon called Damon Drago, a pack of werewolves and stumbling upon a prophecy helpfully concerning Arowyn and her ability to heal a race called the Fey who will aid the others in holding off an extra-dimensional threat called the vor. Why a race of flight dials are trying to invade the world I never managed to work out.
Anyway they manage to get the Prince back with only two kisses and some light snuggling between them. And now the saga continues
And now the saga continues…
Okay before I actually continue with said Saga I think I should start with the cover of the book which is perhaps the worst cover I’ve encountered at least while running this site so far. See the cover just involves a close up of a rugged good looking guy who I guess after reading is supposed to be the dashing pirate captain Roan who I will cover in a bit more detail later. The thing is it tells you nothing about the book and gives you the impression that this is one of the steamy feminine books that involve a good few spicy scenes that get the blood boiling without the need for a sword fight or daring escape if you catch my drift. The thing is the book isn’t like that at all, oh sure romance drifts in and it may have overwhelmed the previous books in the series but it defiantly gives the wrong impression here.
See all the UST went once they dropped Prince Charming off at the Elven capital, well mostly as his memory still lingers on. In fact if anything the book deals with a lot of memories which make this a good breather for those who have been following thus far and a fairly decent jumping on point for newbies. It works like a cross between a bottle episode and a training montage as winter begins to set in and the group must go to ground not least to avoid the Werewolf king coming down to meet them for daring to form their own pack without his permission. I guess it works like a licence thing though it does mean she gets the overly welsh name of Arowyn-en.
Picking the nearest city the group use their reward money to enter the daring and dangerous world of property management. Here they unload and deal with their losses and plan for the future. The prophecy itself is held in bits and pieces inside the mind of young Kei and it is up to him to sort it out, like a jigsaw without a box picture to follow, also it concerns the future of him and the rest of the world, oh and it’s also driving him slightly crazy.
You see the Fey seem to be a kind of like Eladrin only in this world they have all Hulked out and now prowl the countryside lost to years of anger and frustration. While the other races try and hold off the Vox many believe they could be the deciding vote in the whole thing and thus it is up to Arowyn to go around drawing the anger out of them and healing them kind of like that one kid from “Children of the Atom” who was apparently part of the founding members of the x-men but has never been mentioned since.
Now I am not usually one for prophecies and chosen ones but to be honest it is handled quite well in this book with others aware of the prophecy and working around it and Arowyn both in aid and against it. Usually this would mean either joining the party or trying to wipe them with some overly elaborate death trap but instead here we get characters who care little for the party and would usually be a big bad in any other fantasy adventure series instead watching over them. Sort of like if Dr No wanted James Bond to succeed on a mission.
The book is fairly slowly paced without ever feeling like it is dragging along, instead we get to spend some time in their company and even though I’ve just met them I found it a fairly enjoyable experience. Arowyn spends much of the book wondering what it is men want, while Bo gets to know the locals and Kei tries to push the group on toward their goal. That isn’t to say that nothing happens in the book of course but it is certainly past the first act that the twists and turns come into play making it a bit of a hard judge for me what I can talk about and what I can’t. Lingering on from the kiss between Arowyn and the Prince comes some who would use her as a weak point to attack him. Also there is a pirate captain roaming around town who you can tell by the name drops is going to become important to the plot before the end of the book. Of course the question becomes whether toward the light or dark side of the narrative and once again I am kind of relieved that the answer, even now that I have finished the book is not a hundred percent clear. He like everyone else around the core group has their own agenda which intersects the prophecy but stands apart from Arowyn herself and thus he must make it work with the chosen one being a teenage girl crushing over Prince Charming the mopey elf.
Once the action does happen it plays out over the rest of the book with few flashes of intense action but instead well thought out arcs to play out through the rest of the book. Long-time fans of the series will see some changes in the party make up before the book is through and these will be noticeable for new comers as well without belting them around the head to get the point across. As for the party themselves they do not fall into the typical Do’Urden dungeons and dragons trap of levelling up until nothing short of the world ending can pierce their ultimate armour and plot importance. Heck the party is pretty roughed up in what seems to be a standard tavern brawl which adds some weight when they face down a full grown dragon later on.
This is clearly not the end of the story, even I could tell that before we reached the half way point and in truth I can see this tale running for another few books yet. For those weary of long running fantasy sagas that feel stretched this is probably a good argument that this will not suffer the same fate. Instead we get a few tense game changers that we are given time to savour and enjoy instead of sending them off against some sub-lieutenant of the big bad just to pad out the pages.