My rating: 4 of 5 stars (aka 8/10)
I am really enjoying revisiting Louise Cooper’s Time Master trilogy. I reread the first, The Initiate, way back in 2009 and it’s taken until now for me to get on to the second book. (I’m rather embarrassed to see exactly how long that gap really was.) It didn’t matter in the least as I remember plenty enough of the first book to jump into this one easily.
It was actually reading N. K. Jemisin’s The Broken Kingdoms that gave me the push I needed to pick this one up (figuratively speaking since I read it on my Kindle). That series has a good take on the balances between the gods and how it can so much more complicated than simple good and evil, order and chaos. It was the Time Master books that first introduced me to that concept (and it was pretty mind-blowing for the teenager I was at the time), and the reminder of that as I read (and loved) The Broken Kingdoms made me want to get back to this earlier trilogy.
It is so easy in fantasy to create a clear and simple (and simplistic) duality between good gods and evil gods (often identified with order and chaos). I love a book that investigates that and questions its validity. I’m looking forward to comparing Jemisin’s more modern take on this with Cooper’s work.
In and of itself, The Outcast is clearly the middle book in a trilogy. In many ways, the position of the main characters at the beginning is little different from the position they were in when the book began. But at the same time there has been progress and a good story told. I wouldn’t so much say that the characters have developed as that they have deepened the reader’s understanding of their personalities and motives. One character is still a bitch, another is still her dupe, the main characters remain who they were. But it’s still a good book. It’s well worth reading and it holds up well through the 25-odd years since its original publication.
And besides, I fell for Tarod a long time ago (and Cyllan too). Your early literary loves stay with you for a long time, I think.
I promise it won’t take another 3 years before I reread The Master.