Chaosbound: The Eighth Book of the Runelords
by David Farland
Edited by David G. Hartwell
Cover Artist: Kekai Kotaki
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Tor Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765321688
Date: 13 October 2009 List Price $25.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
The eighth Runelord novel takes readers away from the children of Gaborn. Instead the readers will follow the adventures of Sir Borenson as he deals with the aftermath of the combining of two shadow worlds. The immediate aftermath shows how things will be changed. Alone of his family, Borenson has a shadow self which grows in size to monstrous new proportions. He takes his family and travels to reunite with his other family. But his journey won't be simple, a legend is growing, and his path will be forced. The ultimate choice is whether he tries to maintain his Borenson self, or gives in to his alter ego, Aath Ulber.
Crull-maldor is a lich lord and the perspective that shares information related to the Wyrmlings. Not as purely evil as some of the prior nemeses of this series. Her motivation is power and its accumulation. She plots a way to bring down the emperor. Her plots are designed to empower her by using others and the legends that are developing. But there is risk, and it may cost her very existence.
As a part of a significant series, it isn't easy to use this book as an entrance point. The most recent books are necessary to follow this one. This should not discourage readers; the prior books are excellent and will be enjoyed on the way to this one. Farland has the ability to keep his series fresh even this deep into the series. It was a risk to go away from the well known and developed characters and story threads. In a way the switch in perspective helped to stress how much the word has changed and the lengths that humans must go to survive.
The Runelord universe has one of the most interesting and original magic systems in current fantasy. The power comes from the individual and is limited in logical ways. Although different, it matches the richness of the best of the genre. The universe is as good as those created by L.E. Modesitt Jr., Brandon Sanderson, and Robert Jordan.
This was better than I first expected. Once I overcame my confusion in the switching of characters and time frame, I appreciated the depth of knowledge that was expanded. The author detailed how the magic works in greater detail and showed how life-based magic could be used by the undead. That was a gap that had bothered me for a while. I look for the return of this series and the continuing adventures of its rich characters. The upcoming developments and battles should make for continued good reading. I hope to see more of the Gaborn clan.