Review of THE LORD-PROTECTOR'S DAUGHTER by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. (see his website)
Tor, November 2008
Mykella knows something is wrong. Although trade levels haven't changed, tariff receipts are down. Unfortunately, her father trusts his brother, the minister of finance and the man Mykella senses is behind the thefts. Worse, she believes that her uncle is plotting to overthrow her father, to replace him as Lord-Protector of Lanachrona. Even when Mykella is finally able to document the thefts, her uncle manages to point the blame to someone else. And because Lanachrona is a patriarchal society, it won't be long before Mykella and her sisters are married off and sent far away, leaving her father helpless.
An ancient soarer approaches Mykella and tells her it's up to her to learn to use the power of the magical table deep within the castle dungeons. With this power, she can save her entire world. Although Mykella attempts to use the table, she doesn't see how these powers can help her and finds herself in conflict with someone else also using the tables, someone who seeks to enslave her entire planet.
Author L. E. Modessitt, Jr. (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Modessitt) continues his Corean series with a book set far in the future of the earlier novels. Both economics and politics on Corus remain medieval-style despite the existance of rifles. Knowledge of magic has faded and the events of the earlier novels is now fading history.
Modesitt is a talented writer and a powerful world-builder. Some of that is reflected in THE LORD-PROTECTOR'S DAUGHTER and Mykella is a sympathetic character. I kept looking, though, for the twist. As we suspected Mykella's uncle from the start, perhaps Modesitt would challenge us, let the uncle be a victim as well. Perhaps Mykella's sisters with their own talents, would play a part in the story's unfolding. Perhaps her brother, a bit of a twit, would turn over a new leaf. Perhaps we'd learn something important about the world in which they lived. Except, none of these things happened. The book ended abruptly, with Mykella going on a bit of a murder rampage and taking care of anyone who opposed her. That's it.
THE LORD-PROTECTOR'S DAUGHTER isn't a horrible book, but it certainly felt like something Modessitt churned out without a great deal of thought. Perhaps he'd originally conceived of it as a children's book. Considering Modesitt's abilities, DAUGHTER is a disappointment.
Too generous? Too stingy. Or did I miss the whole point? Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll publish the best letters I get so let me know if I can use your name.
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