The Cygnet and the Firebird by Patricia A. McKillip
Review Summary: This second novel in the sorceress series did a much better job of living up to my expectations, and the only regret is that so much of it took place outside of Ro Holding, which seems to have a storied history well worth exploring.
The Cygnet and the Firebird is a more compelling novel than its predecessor on a number of levels.
Finally we get to see the obsessiveness of Nyx’s character in action, as she puzzles and puzzles over the firebird, thinking “sideways” at the problem of how to learn what she doesn’t understand about the firebird’s curse, about the tricks and tools her predecessor, the legendary Chrysom, had used and hidden generations before she was born. The story provides some insight into the peices that had been missing from the previous novel, and fleshes out some of the supporting characters more fully than that earlier effort had been able to.
The story in the second novel is more compelling as well, replacing the odd motivations of the gods with the more understandable greed and deviousness and nobility of human beings. The complexity of motivations at work provides a number of interesting thoughts during the unravelling of what is, essentially, a thriller/mystery.
The themes likewise show a level of complexity I can appreciate, opening a number of thoughts about power, types of power, motivations and costs of power.
This second novel in the sorceress series did a much better job of living up to my expecations, and the only regret is that so much of it took place outside of Ro Holding, which seems to have a storied history well worth exploring.