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July 2003
2003 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu
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The White Dragon - In Fire Forged Part 1 by Laura Resnick
Tor HCVR: ISBN 0312890567 PubDate: 05/01/03
Review by Asta Sinusas

??? pgs. List price $ 26
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Ever since I read the last page of In Legend Born, I have been waiting for Laura Resnick's sequel, at that point entitled In Fire Forged. Almost every time I went into a bookstore, I would scan the shelves to reassure myself that I had not somehow missed an announcement that the new book had arrived. In Legend Born was such a brilliant debut novel that five years later, it was still in my consciousness. When I heard that In Fire Forged was coming, but that it was so long, it had to be split into two sections, I anticipated the story even more.

The White Dragon picks up almost seamlessly where In Legend Born left off. Josarian, the destined one that would unite Sileria, has been vanquished by the White Dragon. This leaves his second in command, Tansen, to try and fill his shoes. Mirabar, the Guardian, also struggles to keep the rebel movement alive. While revolt rages in the countryside, it falls to Elelar to keep machinations and political dealings in the hands of Silerians and to work to expel the Valdanian overlords from the island nation. A new development is the introduction of Zarien, who was raised among the seafolk, but in a rite of passage, the ritual slaying of a beast, he is killed. However, Zarien is rescued by a goddess, brought back to life, and set ashore with a divine mission which brings him to Tansen.

I can't help but compare finishing The White Dragon to the feeling I had leaving the theatre at the end of seeing The Two Towers Or Matrix: Reloaded. While I was satisfied with the tale, I knew there was more to come. How then could I possibly judge half of a story without acknowledging that my determination would be incomplete until I found out how the trilogy ended?

The underlying theme of In Fire Forged was convincing the peasants to rebel. In The White Dragon, Resnick plays up the conflicting thematic elements of water and fire, highlighted by the struggle between the Waterlords and the Guardians, and the hope that the two can be united instead of being in constant opposition. The decline of the rebellion from peasant revolt to political machination took the story from elevated heights into the realm of everyday statesmen. However, there are enough hints of story threads that might be resolved in The Destroyer Goddess: In Fire Forged Part Two to keep me waiting around for the next installment. Thankfully, I only have to wait until December 2003, and it's just the thing to read as I stand in line to see The Return Of The King and Matrix: Revolutions.

2003 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu
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