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The White Road (Nightrunner) by Lynn…
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The White Road (Nightrunner) (edition 2010)

by Lynn Flewelling

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3801328,382 (3.99)21
Member:Sakerfalcon
Title:The White Road (Nightrunner)
Authors:Lynn Flewelling
Info:Spectra Books (2010), Edition: Original, Mass Market Paperback, 400 pages
Collections:Your library, Read 2012
Rating:****
Tags:Fantasy/SF

Work details

The White Road by Lynn Flewelling

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Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
Plot: 4 stars
Characters: 5 stars
Style: 4 stars
Pace: 4 stars

This one goes hand in hand with the previous book, but seems to almost harken back to the earlier triad. Alec and Seregil get to have adventures, and travel, which is always nice. There's a lot more action in this one. The only thing that rather annoyed me is how often the POV switches around, but that's a reader pet peeve of mine, and not enough to make me not enjoy the story anyway. ( )
  Jami_Leigh | Mar 31, 2013 |
This was more of a return to form by Lyn Flewelling, after the disappointment of Shadow's Return.

The dropping of some of the secondary story lines still bugs me - at the begining of Shadow's Return there is at least a chapter or two on Kila and the implications of her return, yet in this book even though our protagonists visit where she had been there is no mention of her, whether she returned and what the queen's response was. Then in the last chapter we get a sudden potential job that has 'political' ramifications so I assume we are back to the relationship between Kila and the Queen!

I enjoyed the book, though it is not as good as the first three books in the series, and it is not as dark as others. Overall an enjoyable read ( )
  SpicyCat | Jan 29, 2013 |
After reading Shadows Return, in which there is slavery and torture, I was a bit hesitant about The White Road. I remember struggling to get through the chapters describing the enslavement of two characters I've come to care about; I remembered being intensely frustrated with Alec and Seregil once they won free because they seemed to be constantly bickering and misunderstanding until I wanted to shake them both like maracas. However, having received Casket of Souls through Netgalley, I needed to catch up, so I skimmed the last several chapters of Shadows Return before picking up The White Road … and … I didn't see it this time. Maybe because I was more intent on reacquainting myself with What Went Before rather than reading every word as a first go-round, the last part of the book seemed to move much faster, and while there were indeed classic misunderstandings and other such situations that could be easily enough resolved if the folk involved would just bloody talk to each other … they weren't as bad as I'd remembered. Overall, I was just pleased to work back into the Nightrunners' story, and that set me up nicely for this.

The White Road picks up directly after Shadows Return ends. Seregil and Alec are recovering – as the first line points out, "Dying – even for just a little while – took a lot out of a person." They're all in need of TLC, Seregil and Alec and Sebrahn – the tayan'gil, the strange little childlike being made from Alec's essence. And he (using the term loosely) is very strange indeed. He – not that he has any male or female attributes, if you know what I mean – can heal; his silver blood dropped into water forms flowers, which when applied to a wound heal it. His rare tears can heal even death – as Alec discovered firsthand.

It's a fascinating idea, the tayan'gil (also known as a white child, being colorless): part golem, part homunculus, part pure Flewelling. The method of healing is unique and beautiful; the idea that the childlike creature is both appealing and repellent, not to mention terrifying, is brilliant.

When he escaped from his imprisonment, Alec went back for Sebrahn; he had no choice, having seen how the tayan'gil's predecessor was treated, and knowing that the little creature feeds only off Alec's own blood. He was rewarded almost immediately when Sebrahn saved him and his comrades (in more ways than one) … but the tayan'gil's presence proves a challenge. They are pursued – not by the alchemist who made him, as Seregil, happily, killed him, but by others who are very personally concerned about the presence in the world of a tayan'gil, not to mention the half-Hâzadrielfaie whose blood could be used to make more. Then, of course, there is the constant concern that should Sebrahn feel threatened, or feel that Alec is threatened, he might lash out in the same way he did when he saved their lives, with a killing song. Then, it was shocking but beneficial to Our Heroes; when they are staying with Seregil's kin in Bôkthersa or in some other place filled with friends, it would be tragic. Alec feels responsible for the creature, and cares for him almost like his own child; Seregil learns affection for him, but worries over the burden and the dangers; others' reactions range from outright loathing to intrigue.

Through long thought and consultation with greater powers (and can I just say that "the Friend" was worth the price of admission all by his own big self), Alec and Seregil decide that the only thing they can do is go back to where they came from: Riga, where they were held as slaves, where Sebrahn was created. It sounded like a terrible idea to me – any sane person would stay far, far away from a place holding such pain and danger. But few have ever accused the Nightrunners of complete sanity – and it is their only real choice. It makes sense. If they can get hold of the book the alchemist used to make the tayan'gil, they can accomplish two goals: keep others from gaining the ability to create another Sebrahn, and, perhaps, gain a little insight into how he works.

Venturing across the sea into territory where Aurenfaie are seen as nothing but slaves to retrieve a book from the very household in which they were enslaved – this should be enough to keep a book going. But wait: there's more. Meanwhile, there is the abominable Ulan, a clan leader who thinks little of bringing in some extra money by allowing his own people to be sold, who is slowly dying of a lung disease and who wants the healing powers of a tayan'gil for himself: either Sebrahn or one he creates himself, he's not picky. He wants the book, the white child, and Alec, and he will do anything to get them. Also, from another direction, the Hâzadrielfaie want much the same things for different reasons: they need to contain Alec and Sebrahn and the book, or – possibly – destroy them. And they're not going to let anything get in their way, either.

This book is a pure joy, after having read a great many new-to-me writers and encountered some true stinkers, to be able to relax into the warm and reliable depths of a new(-to-me) book by a favorite writer. The reasons she's one of my favorites all make themselves known here: I enjoy the heck out of the writing, the characters, and the story, and – while it took me a little time to relax and remember it fully – Lynn Flewelling is one of those writers I feel completely safe with. I mean stand on a stump, cross my arms, close my eyes, and fall backwards safe: I know without question that I can trust her writing to catch me. Yeah, I remember now. This is why I've always spent so much time re-reading. It's wonderful to read new books and push the comfort zone and discover new favorites – but you just can't beat this feeling.

I can only sit back and admire Lynn Flewelling's skill with names, for characters and places both. Rhiminee! I love Rhiminee. I think the solitary thing I did not admire about the writing in this was the stretched-out-vowel-sounds of Sebrahn's contributions, and that was purely personal bias; I get it. It was like any dialect or speech eccentricity in a book's characters, though – a little goes a long way, and more than a little is too much.

My favorite parts of these books are always the ones that hearken back to the beginning: the Nightrunners, nightrunning and working with Thero and Micum; Alec integrating into the various places Seregil has called home. I think I was as relieved as Seregil at the outcome of this story. It was an inevitable resolution which still managed to hang in the balance and remain in question up till the end. Well done, ma'am.

Much as I want the boys to decide to take on the quest to eradicate slavery – because even for an institution which is inherently horrible the slavery in these books is bad – I'm glad to see them settling back in at the Stag and Otter.

In full knowledge that it won't last, of course.

I'm still very disappointed in the cover, though, after the gorgeous one for Shadows Return. ( )
1 vote Stewartry | Dec 26, 2012 |
The White Road is a direct follow-up to the story begun in "Shadows Return". That book depressed me because our heroes spent the entire story enslaved and mistreated. Here, the chains are off (literally and figuratively) and the two men set off on a mission, once again joined by Micum, to discover the truth about Sebrahn. What follows is something of a quest, with a lot of traveling, but also a lot of action. The story is fast-paced and filled with humor and surprises. This book has a lot going for it. Seregil finally returns to his home in Bokthersa and has a heart-warming reunion with his extended family. Sebrahn becomes a catalyst for learning more about dragons and the Hazadrielfaie - who are hunting Alec and Sebrahn. Then there is the continued conniving of Ulan í Sathil. I was also delighted to see Thero settle into the role left by Nysander. He now heads the Watchers, and has grown to be a trusted ally and friend to Alec and Seregil. All these factors made for an engrossing read that I could not put down.

Though the ending felt a bit rushed, overall the story was more than satisfying. Our heroes made plans, took action and put their unique skills to work. I cannot wait for the next book! ( )
  jshillingford | Feb 19, 2011 |
This book didn’t keep me on tenterhooks the way the previous one did, but it was a solid enough continuing adventure, with Alec and Seregil dealing with the consequences of the previous books, including an unexpected magical being whose very existence puts their lives in danger from multiple sides. Again, I wanted more interaction with the Skalan queen, who distrusts and fears our heroes even though they’re sworn to work for her. ( )
  rivkat | Nov 17, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
For one that has been with these characters from the beginning, it is saddening to see the "changes." Nevertheless, White Road is a vast improvement over Shadows Return. One only hopes that the next foray into this world will continue to get better.
 
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Epigraph
Dedication
For my terrific kid sister, Susan. Thanks for your love, support, and enthusiasm all these years.
First words
Dying--even for just a little while--took a lot out of a person.
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Book description
Dissolute nobles, master spies, and the unlikeliest of heroes, Alec and Seregil have survived exile, treachery, and black magic. But the road that lies ahead is the most hazardous they’ve ever traveled. For with enemies on all sides, they must walk a narrow path between good and evil where one misstep might be their last.

Having escaped death and slavery in Plenimar, Alec and Seregil want nothing more than to go back to their nightrunning life in Rhíminee. Instead they find themselves saddled with Sebrahn, a strange, alchemically created creature—the prophesied “child of no woman.” Its moon-white skin and frightening powers make Sebrahn a danger to all whom Alec and Seregil come into contact with, leaving them no choice but to learn more about Sebrahn’s true nature.

With the help of trusted friends and Seregil’s clan, the duo set out to discover the truth about this living homunculus—a journey that can lead only to danger or death. For Seregil’s old nemesis Ulan í Sathil of Virèsse and Alec’s own long-lost kin are after them, intent on possessing both Alec and Sebrahn. On the run and hunted, Alec and his comrades must fight against time to accomplish their most personal mission ever.
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"...Having escaped death and slavery in Plenimar, Seregil and Alec want nothing more than to go back to their nightrunning life in Rhiminee. Instead they find themselves saddled with Sebrahn, a strange, alchemically created creature--the prophesied 'child of no woman.' Its moon-white skin and frightening powers make it a danger to all whom Seregil and Alec come into contact with, leaving them no choice but to learn more about Sebrahn's true nature. But what then? With the help of old friends and Seregil's clan, the pair sets out to discover the truth about this living homunculus..."--P.[4] of cover.… (more)

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