A Time of Omens
By Katharine Kerr
Paperback, 395 pages
1992, Bantam Spectra
From the back of the book: In Deverry the volatile history of humanity continues as a dashing young king journeys to his throne in disguise, fulfilling an ancient prophecy. In the Westlands the exiled lord Rhodry travels anonymously as a silver dagger – a mercenary – as he did in his youth, following a destiny that will take him from the grassy plains of the elven peoples to the hills and towns of Deverry, where the dark forces are gathering. And from the shadowy land of the Guardians come omens, ill-defined and mysterious, that seem to point the way towards cataclysmic war.
This is book 6 in Kerr’s epic 15 book series and it’s technically book 2 of Act 2 (The Westlands) – so I really won’t say much about the plot. I don’t imagine too many of you have read or heard of this series, but if you have, please let me know in the comments! At this point in the series, I can’t say that the overall fantasy elements of magic, elves, fate, evil wizards and the like feel unique. But what grabs me is the reincarnation theme Kerr has going on – each character is reborn later at least once (most of them several times) and their past lives and relationships deeply affect their future ones. Kerr’s main characters are engaging and Nevyn is definitely my favorite.
I did review the previous book, A Time of Exile, back in May and I have to say most elements were still pretty fresh in my mind
despite the fact that I can’t remember how a book I read last month ended. The one thing that’s difficult to keep track of is the reincarnation aspect. The back of each book contains a mini timeline of all the characters mentioned in that particular book. But I wanted someone to remind me of who anyone was during any given time period. So I found a little graph online:
And then wrote it out on some paper so that I can keep it folded in the back of each book as I read. It’s maybe not as difficult to learn these character reincarnations as it is to remember of all Martin’s characters in A Song of Ice and Fire but it’s still easier for me if I have a little visual reference.
I think this series isn’t for everyone – but so far I would recommend it to those lovers of fantasy, especially books written in the 80s-90s. I find myself getting a little overwhelmed by all the character relationships, and sometimes I get bored with certain characters (or frustrated, in Rhodry’s case) so it can be a pain when the story focuses on a character I don’t enjoy. But I can’t wait to see where Kerr is going with all this and I need more Nevyn in my life!
So start with Daggerspell if you’re interested in taking on this series and let me know if you’ve read any of her work!