cover image The House of Always

The House of Always

Jenn Lyons. Tor, $28.99 (544p) ISBN 978-1-250-17567-0

Explorations of the imprisoned mind of demon king Vol Karoth make for an abstract fourth entry in Lyons’s A Chorus of Dragons epic fantasy series (following The Memory of Souls). The wizard Senera Var gathers a group of unlikely allies at a lighthouse frozen in time to help hero Kihrin D’Mon defeat the weakened Vol Karoth. Meanwhile, Kihrin enters the desolate realm of Vol Karoth’s mind to confront him in a debate over the worth of humanity. Kihrin and Vol Karoth take turns summoning memories of Kihrin’s friends as evidence for their conflicting stances on human goodness. The assembled allies in the lighthouse also experience these memories, leading them and the reader to learn of the past adventures of side characters Galen D’Mon, Qown, Talea Ferandis, and others. The complex yet repetitive narrative structure will overwhelm most readers, and the philosophical nature of Kihrin’s quest is thought-provoking but too heady to carry the plot. Fans will hope this experimental outing is only a wobble before the series finds its footing ahead of its conclusion. [em]Agent: Sam Morgan, the Lotts Agency. (May). [/em]