Noman (Noble Warriors #3)

Title: Noman

Author: William Nicholson

Seeker has been charged with the destruction of the savanters. Of the seven, five have already died by his hand. But the two he failed to finish are still out there—still able to prey upon others to extend their own lives. He’s determined not to let the last of them get away.

For Morning Star and Wildman, peace is its own problem. Wildman is the head of an army with nothing to fight. The lack of something to which he can throw himself into, the lack of something to conquer, is driving him crazy. Wildman wasn’t meant to settle down. And Morning Star has the ashes of the realization that her love for him was always only hers. But a charismatic leader promises them both everything they’ve ever longed for . . .

I have mixed feelings about this one. I greatly enjoyed Seeker’s journey, but much of its conclusion depends on handwaving about what his powers are capable of and the really confusing relationship between Noman, Jango, and Seeker. I think I see what the story was trying to do, but lir never came off as that kind of power.

It was good to see Morning Star shake her infatuation with Wildman. My favorite part of her story was the intriguing look into the community the Joy Boy was building (one wonders why he didn’t try to make it last by picking a spot and declaring that the capital). As for Wildman, his turbulent journey took a while to get interesting, but his eventual confrontation with Seeker was brilliant. Even better was Seeker’s reaction to the whole mess afterwards.

I was disappointed the plot did eventually turn back to the “we are all gods” bit implied by the creed, which makes what happened with the All and Only inevitable. Pity. I was hoping the story would be bold enough to allow the All and Only to be eternal God. So what happens instead is a really convoluted plot hole that trips the whole story up.

*** SPOILERS BELOW ***
Lir has been shown to come from life and affect the present. Eg, Seeker focuses his own lir to strengthen his body, or to touch someone’s mind, or even to shake the earth. But to make the end of the story work at ALL, lir has to be capable of crossing dimensional boundaries. Without time travel (twice) you can’t have Seeker AND Jango AND Noman. It might be possible to believe the other two are merely figments of Seeker’s memories, except Jango does things off on his own in the previous book while Seeker is going the other direction down the road. And just how did Noman become a young child again, anyway? That was Manlir’s triumph and the rest of the savanter’s dream. Not to mention Noman the warlord is much more Wildman than Seeker, who has no ambition to rule anyone.

And all of that leads to the mess at the end where Seeker lets Echo get eaten up by the force he won’t destroy because faith needs an enemy and that enemy is knowledge. The story comes so close but fails to show that faith isn’t the problem but whether what you’ve put your faith in is worth that faith. Seeker’s faith is, in the end, in nothing, because the All and Only is a lie just like all the other gods introduced have been lies.
*** END SPOILERS ***

In the end it feels like more of the overall story should’ve been Seeker’s, as his arc was a lot more interesting than the other two, especially in the third book. I did like this overall, but it failed to amaze me the way the end of the Wind Singer trilogy did. If you’ve read the previous books, read this one to cap off the series, but if you haven’t read the first two don’t even bother. Most of what’s going on calls back to things that happened earlier in the series and many of the events just won’t make sense without that backdrop. If you have read the first two, I rate this book Recommended.

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