WIR #5: The Black King

Black KingRusch, Kristine Kathryn. The Black King: Book Two of Black Throne. New York: Bantam Books. Copyright © 2000, by Kristine K. Rusch.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch's web site:

And now I've finished this. I'm just ploughing through books right now, and I'm fine with that.

The character in The Black Queen that I didn't care for makes an appearance in The Black King, but she has an even smaller part.

Throughout both books, for certain characters Rusch makes use of a magic that she calls 'Vision.' In the Fey Empire, which is a magical monarchy, I guess it would be called, the Black family are holders of the throne, and only those with Vision can take the throne. A 'Blind' ruler of the Fey causes all manner of problems. In these two books, Arianna is the Black Queen and her brother, Gift, starts off studying to be a Shaman. (Rulers of the Fey not only have to be Visionaries, they must also have a Shaman, but there is nothing saying they need to be a Shaman themselves.) Arianna ends up with her body taken over by Rugad, her great-grandfather — and then she's expelled, after a fashion, from her own body — the most ruthless leader the Fey have ever known.

There then ensues a battle between Gift and Rugad, and the greatest risk of all involves what is called Blood against Blood, which is a Fey curse that results if one member of the Black family kills another. But how can Arianna be reintegrated back into her own body without risking Blood against Blood?

Rusch does a fabulous job with the suspense and tension in these books, and it definitely doesn't let up until the closing scenes of The Black King.

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