Saturday, June 9, 2012

Review: Hepen the Watcher

Hepen the Watcher
Hepen the Watcher by Linda Nagata

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Fantasy Reading Level: Adult

Disclosure: I received a free ebook ARC from the Early Reviewer’s program at LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis: A tale of exile, rebellion, fidelity, and fire.

The demon Dismay’s murderous nature has earned him the ire of his beloved wife, who has sent him away in a fit of temper. In his exile he ventures south into the land of Lutawa, drawn there by the prayers of abused and desperate women who beg him to grant them vengeance against the men who cruelly rule their lives—and Dismay is pleased to do it.

Still, murder is hard and dirty work.

When an avid desire for a bath brings him to a fine Lutawan estate, he meets two beautiful young women. Ui and Eleanor are well-acquainted with the whispered tales of the demon Dismay, who slays men but never women, and they’re delighted to entertain their fearsome guest, but they warn him to beware.

Lutawa is ruled by an immortal king, who punishes treason with the terrible weapon of infernal fire. Believing this king to be the same cruel deity known in the north as Hepen the Watcher, Dismay resolves to kill him—and accidentally draws Ui and Eleanor into his schemes.

Those who help Dismay risk a fiery death, those who hinder him risk the demon’s bloody retribution, while Dismay, still yearning for his wife’s forgiveness, discovers that love can be as hazardous as the wrath of Hepen the Watcher.

My Thoughts: This is book 2 in Tales of the Puzzle Lands. I was assured I could read it without having read the first book in the series. Since the first book looked like romance, I decided to accept that ruling and go for it. However, after reading this book, now I’ve decided that maybe I want to read the first one after all... It probably would have helped if I had remembered that I do have the book and could have read it first. Oh, well...

I like Dismay – a lot. I especially like that he was busy killing the disgusting, misogynistic Lutwanas. I had hoped – like I always hope – for an interesting antagonist, hoping that the sheriff would be at least an honorable man caught in bad circumstances, not knowing any better, etc. Instead he was just as bad as most of the others. A terrible person. For all the talk of him, there is very little actual interaction with Hepen the Watcher, so no way to tell much about him, other than that he is a misogynist of the worst type.

Overall, I liked the book well enough – and I should say I liked it enough to want to immediately read the first one, so most fans of fantasy should enjoy this. However, please be aware there is a scene with terrible, graphic brutality against women, and other instances hinted at, so if that sort of thing enrages you like it did me, you might want to skip this and save yourself the aggravation.

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