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Hidden Truth by Dawn Cook
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Hidden Truth (2002)

by Dawn Cook

Series: Truth (2)

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So it's a little, itty, bitty, bit better than the first book. Again, the author has established a great world and a really good running story/mystery in this one. But, she still bugs me. Stupid girl. ( )
  Krumbs | Mar 31, 2013 |
The sequel to First Truth just wasn't gripping enough for my tastes. Initially I'd read Dawn Cook's Princess series and loved those two books enough that I started this series right away hoping for something similar but the Truth novels while they have two very likeable protagonists in Strell the wandering minstrel and Alissa the novice Mage are otherwise quite flawed. Hidden Truth was a novel I found that I COULD put down for days at a time largely because the pace is so slow and the plot is devoid of tension.

Major flaws for me were the fact that Ballic the villain isn't a strong enough character he just creeps around the Hold and is mildly irritated by the protagonists even in what should have been a very threatening scene where he harms Strell the reader never feels as though the other characters are in imminent peril.

The plot seems to be non existent and can be summed up as Strell and Alissa have tea parties, avoid Ballic who has a magical book only Alissa can open but which he has no clue how to use, Ballic makes threats to cause wars - Strell and Alissa couldn't care less and drink more tea. There is even a minor character added to clumsily Suggest a love triangle for Alissa. Whilst I liked Lodesh he is barely a rival for Strell as Alissa never wavers in her affections.

Perhaps the worst thing about this series is that the magic system is so dull considering that it can be used to heal or to magic objects out of thin air it reads as about excitingly as a crochet pattern. If the magic were more consistent and lively the strong lead characters could have raised the book above it's plot weaknesses but it was not to be.

As it stands I'm finding excuses and other books to read instead of finishing the series with the last two books because Cook makes the mistake of tying up this installment too neatly. For example the villain is defeated leaving Alissa free to develop her magic, Lodesh rationalises that he only has to wait for Strell to die of natural causes to make his move on Alissa - as they will both outlive him, the undead city is laid to rest and even the fact that Alissa and Strell are now different species is resolved.

I'm afraid this isn't one I can recommend. ( )
  scriberscouse | Sep 3, 2010 |
This was a fine followup to the first in this series. I admit to not fully being immersed in this universe in the first. I liked the story well enough, but I wasn't truly drawn in. I find with this one, i have actually fallen in love with the characters and the story. The addition of Lodesh and a fuller understanding of the 'city of the dead' are just icing on the cake. I'm actually looking forward to grabbing the next two in the series. ( )
  Alera | Oct 17, 2008 |
I enjoyed this book more than I did the first in the series because there was a little more excitement. It wasn't a very adventurous book considering the character spend just about all their time locked in the Hold. It still kept my interest, making me eager to finish it.

However, I did hate the antagonist. That's not hate in a good way either. The antagonist, Bailic, was not evil. Sure, he talked evilly of turning people against each other. He also got angry a lot. That's about it. I found myself seeing him as more of a nuisance than anything, especially when he would round a corner and find the two main characters doing something they shouldn't be. The two main character themselves didn't even really care about upsetting him; they were late for his "appointments" countless times. I wish we could have seen him do more, than be told of what a bad person he was. The book consisted of a good portion of telling and not showing, but at least the telling was told in a creative way.

Considering the entire book takes place in this Hold where the two main characters and Bailic are confined, making him a little more fearful would have made a better story. The non-evil characteristic that Bailic isn't even the worst of it. The worst was between the first book and the second one, he hasn't become any smarter. He's still the ol' stupid Bailic that has been tricked countless times. He thinks Strell is the one possessing magical abilities, when it is obviously Alissa. After all, she is the one having tea parties with the Master of magic. But no, he doesn't realize who she is until it's stuffed under his nose and THEN he realizes "hey she has grey eyes, so she must be the daughter of that powerful magician I knew from childhood." And then he has the nerve to forget this, and when she transformed into a dragon, standing beside her master, he asks "Who is this female-dragon?" When prior to this event we are informed about the her obvious gray eyes while in dragon form. I laughed at his oblivious state while interrogating about how this female-dragon that suddenly appeared out of no where was.

He also spends his entire life obtaining a book and teaching a Keeper to open it. When it's finally open he's not sure how to use it.

Sigh. It sounds like a lot of complaining, but if you can look past the stupidity of the "evil" villian it really is a great book. The lead character, Alissa, troubles herself with learning magic and staying on Bailic's good side all the while maintaining her sanity by engaging in fun activities with the male lead character, Strell. The book is told from various other perspectives--pretty much every character introduced in the book gets to narrate a chapter or two.

Characters and opinions are as follows:

Bailic - the bad villain of the book whose soul purpose is to open a book so he can awake a bunch of dead people for his own selfish reasons
Alissa - She is the main character. Throughout the book she learns magic from an instructor, this becomes an interesting sort of father-daughter relationship. The book consists much of seeing her perform (and attempting) magic.
Strell - The male character of the book. He is locked up in the Hold with Alissa. He is not only bound there by a promise that can't be unbroken, but his purpose is to protect who he loves. A good portion of the book revolves around his troubled thoughts of leaving her, or being with her. If you haven't guessed, it's Alissa who he loves.
Talo-Toecan - the instructor of magic. The Master of the Hold, as he is called. He teaches Alissa all the magic she needs to know, and informs her on all the information of the Hold and other necessities of the book.
Lodesh - a nice comic relief. I enjoyed him because his humor wasn't forced. It was his personality that I found amusing. He is sort of the leader of the dead city, Ese' Nawoer. He watches over Alissa as instructed by Talo-Toecan, and this causes conflict. ( )
1 vote coffee.is.yum | Jun 28, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0441010032, Mass Market Paperback)

The truth behind New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison is fantasy author Dawn Cook...

Second in the extraordinary series featuring Alissa, a young woman seduced by the power of magic-in a brand new package.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:52:14 -0400)

In the sequel to First Truth, a skeptical Alissa must draw on the ancient magical talents she has inherited from her father to resist the First Truth, a powerful book of magic that seeks to control Alissa and her magical gifts and that could lead to devastating consequences for the Hold at the hands of Bailic, a renegade and ruthless Keeper.… (more)

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