Author: William Nicholson
Seeker, Morning Star, and Wildman are in training to become Noble Warriors. They’ve achieved nearly everything they set out to do—and nothing is what they thought. For Seeker, the power of becoming a Noble Warrior comes with burdens, questions, responsibilities, and no way to know for sure if his path is the right one. For Morning Star, the unexpected revelation of her own heart seems a contradiction to continuing onward in her training. And for Wildman . . . living by the rules has never been his style. He’s still to get a glimpse of the Garden and the one who waits within, the All and the Only. It’s all he’s ever wanted. As war comes once again to the land, the three find themselves at the heart of something greater and more terrible than they ever dreamed. . .
It’s been nearly ten years since I read the first book, so my memories going into this one were a little foggy. Thankfully, the main plot was very easy to get back into, beginning as it does with the slow life of training with the Nomana, and gradually building speed through the final war. I still like Seeker best. In this volume his troubles take on more of an adult tone as he wrestles with who he is, what purpose his abilities have, and what direction to take his life. He knows there is a reason, but he has no idea what that reason might be. And then when he does have a mission, its purpose contradicts his vows. More, his reactions during it show he’s not quite as pure and detached as he aims to be.
Morning Star’s revelation seemed a bit too abrupt, but it otherwise plays out well. I found it interesting how what she noticed, what she says, about herself is also true for Seeker, although he won’t say it and probably doesn’t realize it himself. Echo, a resident of the forest Glimmen, is an interesting contrast—a girl captured by an army, forced to choose a marriage she does not want. Echo took a while to grow on me, mostly because I was dreading how her storyline would turn out, but she shows a lot of cleverness in avoiding what could have been the worst of her situation.
And Wildman, is, as always, the wildcard. He’s capable of great things when he’s focused, but the Nomana seem determined to frustrate him. And it’s kind of looking like he might end up as part of the problem later on, even if right now he’s helping out. It will be interesting to see what kind of a path he chooses to blaze on the road ahead, especially with all the tools at his disposal by the end.
The only quibble I have is a small one—the whole “Nothing is dependable. Nothing lasts.” that is supposed to be Seeker’s key revelation—the nothingness he is, the nothingness that is all around him—is really more a statement for horror and despair than the joy it stirs in him. It is perhaps the best argument for eternity: nothing in this world is everlasting, and so nothing in this world is able to hold the weight of our hopes and dreams. And Seeker points this out near the end when he talks with Echo about gods. She can only see what she wants now and next, and he, emptied of wants, can see where such a course must eventually lead.
But it makes for interesting reading, and an interesting plot, and most certainly interesting powers. I was amazed Seeker got so much of an upgrade so early in the story (and what it did to him to get it). And then it was great fun watching the ramifications play out. Now that Seeker has such a different perspective on life, it’s catapulting him into places the old him would never have dared.
Overall this is probably best read after the first book, although it’s mostly the minor characters who benefit, as most of their backstory is only slightly touched on, if at all. And with such an open ending, the third book has a lot of space to go places . . . I rate this book Highly Recommended.