I am a slow person. I like to take my time. I’ve begun to read the Nightrunner series from Lynn Flewelling years ago, but I only finished the seventh book recently. This is not going to be a long article, I don’t have that much to say overall, but at least I can keep track of what I read and my opinions. I am a very forgetful person.
In the total of seven books (for the moment the end, unless Flewelling decides to continue) you follow the adventures of Seregil and Alec. The series is pretty diverse, from royal intrigues to bad necromancers wanting to rule the world, complete with magic, espionage, travelling, a lovely world building, and nice characters. Flewelling does an overall great job with her series
I will not present every book, but favour an overall impression. It is interesting to note though that the first two books were written as one, and the editor decided to separate them into two, which makes them the only books that cannot stand alone. You will have a cliffhanger in the first book, and miss half the plot if you only begin at the second. The others are all complete stories, albeit they reference events from prior books.
I do like the series for two major points I’d like to see more of in other books :
The fantasy stereotypes/clichés. The books are full of them. You will stumble from cliché to cliché. Ancient prophecy ? Old magic mentor ? Big bad guys wanting to rule the world ? Some kind of special artifact ? Visions ? Strange dreams ? Name it, the Nightrunner series is sure to have it. So, wait, isn’t that supposed to be a bad thing ? Well, normally. Flewelling is proof that you can make entertaining and captivating stories with the most overused ideas ever and still make if feel fresh and compelling. The series is a nice example on how to use stereotypes, and use them well, set into a world build with a lot of care. She does it right. And that’s awesome.
Flewelling also gets her relationships right. I often hate relationships in fantasy books for a lot of reasons. They often feel artificial and superficial. They feel forced. Flewelling though does a nice job on creating couples who feel real in my eyes. Even Seregil/Alec, although Alec is still for me the worst character of all the series, too perfect compared to all the other well-constructed characters. Aside from that her characters are diverse. So are her couples. And it is one of the only fantasy series I read so far were homosexuality and female characters are well done. The series has my favourite female characters overall. You don’t come across a lot of books who manage all those diverse relationships well without forgetting the actual plot that happens.
So, when she does things right, Flewelling does so really well. Surely not the best fantasy books you can find depending on what your standards are, but a nice read nonetheless.
The thing is, she does not always get it right.
The first two books are a blast.
The third is ok. Maybe it just didn’t stick with me.
Fourth and fifth books are… terrible. The fourth had maybe too much Alec and too less of the rest in it for me not to be annoyed. But even plot-wise that book was a mess in my eyes. And so much drama. The fifth book was one of the emptiest books I have ever read in my life. It took me months to get over it and read on, because I feared that the last two books would be the same.
But they are great. I do believe I liked the sixth a bit more than the seventh, but the seventh is a nice closing, recalling the first plot in the series. I always think it neat for some reason when authors “frame” their stories.
So, out of seven books, only two were kinda okish. Still not a bad read if you are not as annoyed as I am with Alec. And always worth it nonetheless, because Flewelling managed to construct a compelling and interesting world which is solid through all seven books.