Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
Genre: High Fantasy
Rating: Two Petals
On the Author's Website: http://www.laurellkhamilton.com/book_series/nightseer/
Keleios the Half-Elf was but five years old when she saw her mother murdered by the evil witch Harque. For years she has asked the gods for the strength she'll need to avenge this foul death, and it seems the gods have answered her. She's been granted an array of powers never before seen in one person, but she has also acquired a most terrifying burden, a demonmark. This mark can open the door to undreamed abilities, but it can also open her soul to the forbidden dark side of magic. Keleios must choose between the demonmark's tainted power and the lives of those she holds most dear. In an epic battle of good versus evil, of enchanted swords and shapeshifting dragons, of unquenchable hatred and unlikely love, Keleios must face her own demons—before she can acquire the most important power of all: the power to forgive.
Nightseer is a novel about magic and it is the crafting of the magical powers in the world Hamilton created that is truly remarkable. There are powers for good and there are powers for evil, but each is taught and respected equally under the auspices of their individual gods. The struggle between good and evil is very interesting to see when those being taught the different disciplines share living space and classrooms while at school. I really enjoyed reading about that dichotomy . I also liked how diverse and well thought out each person's magical power is. There is power over weapons, through dreams, via potions, or by crafting spells, to name a few. Each form of magic has been given a life of its own, which is so much fun to read.
The book falls short in many different ways. All the characters in the book are too perfect in such a way that even their flaws are only present to enhance their perfection. For example, Keleios, the main character, has a dark past and a demon mark inscribed in her skin because of that, but she is inherently a good person. In fact, she's so good she's the epitome of a Mary Sue. She's pretty, she's powerful, she's overcoming the evil inside of her as she fights to save everyone she loves. She even has beautiful men fighting for her love.
There is romance in the book as well, but like anything that has to do with the characters it is far too perfect. Keleios hates him, then she sees the necessity of him, and then she marries him because he's a beautiful man who wants nothing more than to fall deeply in love with her for the rest of their lives. There's some politics involved as well, but Hamilton conveniently forgot about that halfway through the book.
The absolute worst part of the book was the ending. It's left on a cliffhanger where many of Keleios' friends are still in dire jeopardy, the world is in imminent danger of war, and she recently escaped a politicized arrest for crimes she didn't commit. Yet, Keleios is more concerned with her marriage bed, which is extremely awkwardly written. I would have read the sequel to Nightseer because I did enjoy the magic and the overall plotting wasn't bad, but Hamilton never wrote it. I was left in the middle of an uncomfortable bedroom with the cliffhanger of the rest of the plot lying in wait, and there is zero chance of ever having resolution to it.
Maggie's Final Recommendation:
This wasn't a bad book, but it also wasn't particularly good. I found it to be a fun read overall, particularly about the various magical disciplines, even if I can't recommend it. I would have read a sequel had one ever been written.
Maggie reviews paranormal and fantasy novels and novellas. She also interviews authors and hosts giveaways.