After a short break, I read book two of The Rogue Elf series by J.T. Williams. It mostly had the same pros and cons as the first book – and so my rating stays mostly similar.
The first book focused on four half-elven siblings and their dwarf companion, leading to a jumble of several points of view. The second book focuses on just Kealin – though mentioning the reason would be a heavy spoiler for book one. The book starts five years after the events of book one, and I will use a quote from ca. 7% into the story to illustrate an issue I’ve found with the story: “He had heard nothing of his mother or father but only bloodshed between the races of magic.”
As I mentioned in the review of the first book, the fact that the supposedly heavy conflict his parents went to fight was completely ignored in the first book, and that doesn’t change at all in the second book. The reason why I see it as an issue is that it diminishes the severity of that particular plotline to me – and sounds just like a cheap plot device to send the young half-elves on an adventure. Five years of Kealin’s life are skipped with no hint of the conflict raging on or the fate of his family.
That said, the single-minded focus on Kealin’s search for his sister means the PoV is quite clear for the most part, and avoids the weird shifts that have been present in the first book, if only because there’s rarely a change of PoV.
For this book, Kealin’s companions are two treasure hunters with their own interests and some connection to the greater plot. As with the first book, it seems like an adventure without a clear path and a vague goal (“gotta find my sister”).
Despite all of those shortcomings, the book is quite a gripping and fast-paced read (I read it in three sittings).
Before I wrap this up, I will hint that Kealin will manage to meet with some of his family – not in a way I’d expect, and it’s a brief meeting that set up for a future plot.
I’ve said in my review of book one, I haven’t managed to connect with the main character as much as I’d like to, even though it improved a bit from book one – but not enough. The lack of attention to what I expected to be the greater plot was another reason for my disconnection from the story, I’d say. And, for that reason, I’m putting this series aside – whether temporarily or forever, I can’t say, though the size of my TBR list is likely to make it a lasting decision.