Title: Land Keep
Author: J. Scott Savage
Marcus and Kyja have only a few hints from the water elementals about where to find the land elementals, but they’re too desperate to pass up any chance. Gathering the help of the four elementals—water, earth, air, and fire—is vital to opening a passageway between worlds, which would allow both Marcus and Kyja to go back to their world of origin with no ill effects. But this time around they’ve got to deal with the Keepers of the Balance, whose savage devotion to keeping the world in order rivals the Dark Circle’s madness . . .
This was not a bad book, but I struggled to stay interested enough to get through it. Marcus and Kyja are both crippled in their own way, both stuck in a world that doesn’t really suit them, both powerful in ways they don’t understand. They’ve reached that ugly stage of relationship which is mostly picking fights with each other, and the lack of an imminent external threat like the first book means they have the room to bicker nearly endlessly. That’s not the kind of tension I enjoy reading, so I got through the first half pretty slowly.
I did like the land elementals, both how they look and their obsession with knowledge. The cover art is gorgeous. And the threads of deeper mysteries are slowly surfacing, with perhaps the most interesting revelation poorly bombed at the end, where Marcus has no space to react to it (it is a nice hook for a future book, but it’s odd Marcus then has a rather long farewell scene in which no thought of this ever comes up). Oh, and Riph Raph continues to have some of the best lines in the book: “And don’t forget about me,” Riph Raph said. “I am flying death.”
If you liked the first book, this is a good follow up, although I found it slower going. Farworld offers some unique takes on typical fantasy tropes, unusual main characters, and a solid plot. I rate this book Recommended.