cover image The Chaos Crystal

The Chaos Crystal

Jennifer Fallon, Tor, $28 (432p) ISBN 978-0-7653-1685-1

In the previous three Tide Lords novels, protagonist Arkady Desean has sold herself into a loveless marriage in an attempt to save her father, fallen in love with the immortal prince Cayal only to find out that he's shallow and selfish, been sold into slavery, and escaped. This grim concluding volume puts Arkady in yet more peril but never manages to be as emotionally gripping as the previous installments. The immortal Tide Lords, most of whom are either bored or self-serving to the point of caricature, are once more engaged in their petty power struggles. It's left to Arkady and resistance leader Declan Hawkes to keep the world from ending up as collateral damage. An abrupt and brutal ending will shock even those fans who love Fallon's work for its unstinting darkness and cynicism. (May)