Deryni Checkmate

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I might not have read this book at all, had I not finished all the books I brought with me for a day outside and had the nearest library not had this sequel to a novel I read maybe a year or two ago.

I didn’t dislike its predecessor, Deryni Rising, but I wasn’t storming the gates to find this, its sequel.

But things worked out, I suppose. I enjoyed this one a little more than the last one, though it also took me longer to get into it. Actually, I should say that I spent the first fifty to one hundred pages thinking, how am I going to slog through this?

Kurtz is an old school fantasy writer. Not old old school – not like the pulp days. But the seventies and eighties produced a lot of fantasy (and I gobbled up a lot of it) that feels pretty dated by modern tastes. And it wasn’t resonating with me.

By the end though, I was getting into it. In fact, I’ll read the next one.

Both books that I’ve read in the series so far are political, rather than action based. But the first one was about an adolescent ‘chosen one’ type thrust into a position of power and forced to defeat an evil predating him or her. If you read a lot of fantasy, that’s not a new plot. This one, however, is primarily from the POV of secondary characters from that first book. Major, but still secondary. They are adults, which resonates better with me (and even when the boy king arrives, he feels much more mature; actually, too mature – it didn’t ring quite true, since this takes place not that long after the first book).

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