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Warrior of Destiny by T. R. Chowdhury and T. M. Crim

Previously, I reviewed the first book by T. R. Chowdhury and T. M. Crim, the Child of Prophecy, and I picked up the second book at GenCon 2008. But, it took me way too many months to get to this review.

Warrior of Destiny is a solid continuation of the first book and it dovetails nicely into the conclusion of that story and builds up a remarkably different story while keeping to the original tone. The book is 534 pages, a pretty hefty book, and takes a while to read. In my case, just over six hours, but they were an enjoyable six hours.

That isn't to say I loved the book. It is an decent fantasy novel, but not what I would call a great book. The story is split almost in two main plots for the entire length of the novel, with what I view as the main character, Adrianna, having adventures with learning how to be a mage, and the rest of the group from the first book. I found that Adrianna's adventures drew me into the story, but I found myself lagging while paying attention to the other plot line. One is obviously built up better than the other.

It doesn't help that the novel jumped back and forth between these two groups. In many cases, the point of view jumps in the middle of paragraphs which is one of my personal dislikes, but at least it kept in the same group. When the story is broken down into chapters and sections (an extra line between paragraphs), I would expect a POV shift at the section break, but there were times when the POV shifted between sentences, adding to the confusion of who was having those deep, inner thoughts.

There are a lot of inner thoughts in this novel. In itself, I don't consider this bad, but I didn't really get a sense of emotional interplay for those thoughts, and this book focused a great deal on emotions. At first, I found the rapid-fire change of emotional states, from hatred to lust back to disgust, to be difficult to handle. Later, I found the reason and I enjoyed that twist greatly. But, in writing, the transitions were brutally fast and made it hard to swallow some turns of events.

I touched on world-building in the last review, but I like their world. I find it interesting what they are creating and their deviations from the original story, but I don't like their word choices or character names. Too many "S" names all working together. It is still obvious this is an adventure, or at least based on Dungeons and Dragons. They use spell names, complete with italics, and class names. But, then change things that didn't really need to change. For example, there are umber hulks but instead of orcs they have orocs. Going with either all custom names or game names would made it easier for my comprehension of the story. Likewise, the units of measurement became cumbersome and I just ignored them in general. I think saying miles is better than zarcols, though zarcols are more "flavor", they also mean someone has to translate it while reading.

Finally, this book is somewhat randy. There is rape... it comes up a lot but there is only two attempted scenes. Nothing graphical really, but it happens to be one of the two things I will always mention in a review since it pulls the book from Fluffy's reading list. Beyond that, and in stark contrast from the first one, it seems like everyone is getting or wanting some. The main character who seems to lust after every male who's name starts with "S" or spends any length of time around. It might fit the character, but I felt it was a sudden change in personality from the first book.

The author's writing style improved drastically in this book. While there are long sections, it has more of a punch when reading it. The later half, like many books, felt smoother and it lead right up to the climax. Unfortunately, when the book was finished, I really wanted something more substantial. The conclusion felt rushed, with the final battle taking dozens of pages after hundreds of buildup.

Would I recommend it to someone? Depends on their interest. If they loved the first book, then they'll probably love the second. If they were fond of D&D adventures, then this is a wonderful book for them. For those who are pickier about their fantasy or need a bit more crunch with endings, I wouldn't recommend it. I'll buy the third one for sake of completeness and to follow the story, which still has potential, but I don't really see myself pulling this book out of the shelf again and re-reading it.