Today, I’m going to continue my review of “The Path” books by reviewing the second two books: Path of Honor and Path of Blood.

In my short review of Path of Fate, I listed six points that made the book enjoyable for me.  Unfortunately, just about every virtue that I described in the first book is turned around to become a vice in the last two books.  I’ll go through them in order.

  1. Changing perspectives to boring characters – starting with the second book, the author felt it necessary to change perspectives throughout the story.  he author should have realized that the charm of her story was with the evolution of the main character; readers enjoy seeing the world through Reisel’s eyes.  I understand that most books change perspectives, and that it may have been difficult to cover all of the plot points (more on that below) while staying with Reisel.  Nonetheless, the author should tried to keep the story with Reisel.
  2. On-screen graphic violence – In the first story, the author describes evidence (scenes, smells, etc) of a character being brutally raped, but never describes the events “on-screen.”  In the second two books, all hint was replaced by graphic, on-screen depictions of rape and torture.  Do I really don’t need read the painful account of a 10-year-old child’s eye being cut out from the perspective of the child?  If the author had briefly alluded to such torture, I would have seen the villain as a monster; since the author described it in graphic detail, I saw the author as the monster.
  3. Ridiculous, gratuitous sex – Oh…my…god.  This book is filled with some of the most ridiculous on-screen sex I’ve ever read.  A description of every thrust of a prisoner being treated with sex?  Check.  A god-statue with 3 protruding penis-spears?  Check.  Reisel’s new love interest being born again as the son of a god and (I kid you not) impregnating every woman in his culture?  Check.  These books have more gratuitous sex than greek mythology; even the horn-dog Zeus didn’t try to mate with every woman in a city in one night.
    Unfortunately, this serves as a real distraction from a potentially interesting story.
  4. Disenchanted magic and heroes – Any sense of nobility among the Ahalad-Kaaslane has been destroyed in the second two books.  Further, the excessive amount of power that Reisel possesses takes away from some of the most interesting challenges that she faced.  As another reviewer put it, Gods are a convenient way of solving any problem.
  5. Complex story, simple characters – It almost feels like Path of Honor and Path of Blood were written by a completely different author.  I praised the simple story and complex characters of the first book, but I feel like the author tries to switch this for an overly complex story filled with simple, boring characters.
  6. No quotable lines – Upon reflection, I discovered a connection between this story and the more recent Star Wars films: there were almost no quotable lines.  I’m an auditory learner, and I remember things based on the quotes and phrases used in the story.  I’ve not read many books with dialogue so boring that I can’t remember a single quote from the story.  Like Darth Maul, so much time was devoted to portraying the “bad-assness” of the characters that nothing was left to describe what made the characters interesting.

Ultimately, I don’t think I would have finished the books if I hadn’t been so interested in D&D rangers at the time.  I had been playing a lot of Guild Wars using a beastmaster build for multiple characters.  For example, one of my first and oldest characters, The Fearless Rogue, has had the same pet since almost the beginning of the game (Note: this was one of my first attempts at PhotoShop.  I’m surprised I didn’t put a lens-flare in there).

Later, I even named one of my characters “Ahalad Kaaslane.”

Diane Pharaoh Francis was fortunate to get my money when she did, and has Guild Wars to thank for it.  She will likely not get another penny from me.

While I enjoyed Path of Fate, I give Path of Honor and Path of Blood a big thumbs down.