Review of THE SORCERESS OF KARRES by Eric Flint and Dave Freer
WITCHES OF KARRES SERIES #3
Baen, January 2010
When Captain Pausert returns to the dangerous Chaladoor region of space, he knows he's in for danger. After all, an entire battle fleet has recently vanished there. When he finds out he'll have to go without Goth, the teenage witch who's announced that she'll marry him some day, he wonders if he's bitten off more than he can handle. Still, he does have 'the Leewit' along and she's no chump of a witch herself, although she is still a child.
As for Goth, she really wanted to be with Pausert, but she has a mission of her own...and it's with Pausert, but the teenage version of himself. Goth's father, who is also Pausert's great-uncle, has left a complicated estate which Pausert and his mother can't access but which includes, apparently, something that the mysterious and dangerous plant-people are seeking. Goth has to protect the youthful Pausert, discover what it is that the plant-people are looking for, and deal with a completely different relationship with the young Pausert than the one she had with the grown Captain.
Authors Eric Flint and Dave Freer (see more reviews of books by these authors by clicking the links) continue the series kicked off by author James H. Schmitz in his wonderful THE WITCHES OF KARRES. Reader favorite characters such as the Vezzarn, the mysterious Sedmon, vatches, and, of course, the three young witches all return (Maureen only in a cameo role, unfortunately).
THE WITCHES OF KARRES desperately needed a sequel. This classic SF tale combined elements of fantasy and space opera together with the character of Pausert with whom readers could easily identify. By continuing the series, Flint and Freer not only let us know what happened to much-loved characters, they also invite readers who are to young to have caught WITCHES in its first edition to catch up with it now. I have mixed feelings about this particular sequel, however. Certainly Flint/Freer pay homage to the master, not only bringing back characters but working in plot elements from throw-away lines in the original WITCHES and continuing to evolve the complicated relationship between the still-too-young Goth and the adult Pausert. Sometimes, however, this homage seemed to beat the reader over the head with information (did we really need to hear about the seven Sedmons quite so often) and the writing clunked when Flint/Freer tried to deal with Schmitz's line about the youngest witch being 'the Leewit' rather than simply Leewit. As for the young Pausert, he seemed a one-dimensional character. If I'd been Goth, I would have reconsidered my marriage plans after spending time with him.
WITCHES is a classic. I'm happy that Flint/Freer are keeping the franchise alive and exposing new readers to this wonderful book and the characters it introduced. SORCERESS is only okay. It's not bad, certainly readable, but it just doesn't compare with the original.
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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