Jacqueline Carey
Banewreaker Cover

Not So Black-and-White


This is a review of Banewreaker by Jacqueline Carey. This novel is Volume 1 of The Sundering, a 2 volume series.

The question that this series seeks to answer is this: if everything in the world that is good considers you to be evil, are you?

These books tell a tale of a world with various races (Humans, Ellylon (basically Elves), Fjeltroll, Were, Dwarves, and Dragons). There are Seven Shapers (what we would consider to be gods) who are powerful, immortal, but not eternal (as they had a beginning and can have an end). There is a war between two of the Shapers, Haomane and Satoris. The other Shapers side with Haomane and most of the races on the world do as well. Satoris and his allies are considered evil by most of the world, but are they?

What I liked most about this series was that it painted a picture of the "bad-guys" that was sympathetic, it explained their choices but didn't excuse them. Evil wasn't mindless evil for the sake of being evil, and good wasn't pure goodness either. You could see how small actions (of kindness or betrayal) at one point in the story turned out to have made a large difference later on. The characters were interesting with complex motivations. I found the portrayal of religion to be fascinating and disturbing as it depicted the war between the Shapers and how humans and the other beings got caught in the crossfire.

Part of me wished that this series had ended differently. Don't get me wrong, I think that the series ended well and it ended the way it should have. But part of me longs for a world where different choices had been made by several of the characters.

I have to rate this book as 5 stars, as I literally could not wait to read the next book to see how the series ended. In fact, I read Godslayer (Volume 2 of The Sundering) before I could even begin to write this review of Volume 1. I highly recommend both books, especially for those who like to ponder difficult questions and for those who want a more complex conflict than that a simple black-and-white worldview can give you.


My stars rating explained:
1 Star - I wish I could unread this book!!
2 Stars - I will not read any more in this series and/or by this author.
3 Stars - I will probably read more, but not a certainty.
4 Stars - I will definitely read more in this series or by this author!
5 Stars - I can't wait to read more in this series or by this author!!