GUARDIANS OF THE KEEP
The second entry in the Bridge of D'Arnath series finds strong-willed Seri still waiting for her beloved Karon to regain his memories. She also has a promise to fulfill: to relay her brother's final words to his son. She returns to her ancestral home of Conigor and finds her 10-year-old nephew Gerick secretive and angry. Despite their differences, Seri can't help but care for her nephew and when Gerick disappears, Seri is poised to risk everything to save her family. Seri and Karon, strangers still, will have to join together and again face the evil Lords of Zhev'Na to rescue Gerick, who's been drawn into their plot to destroy the Bridge of D'Arnath and obliterate two worlds.
Seri is a bright, educated, resourceful heroine, refreshingly older and more experienced than the typical fantasy female. Her mistakes, uncertainty and checkered past make her easy for the average reader to relate to. The use of multiple first-person narrators, a change from the previous entry in this series (Son of Avonar), may take a few chapters to get used to, but ultimately the technique enhances the story.
Berg excels at strong world-building and complex, sympathetic characters. Her world is realistic and reasonable despite the obvious magical elements, and heroes and villains alike have complex motivations that make them real. While the primary plot is capable of standing alone, fantasy fans will find that taking the series in order definitely enhances the reading experience. (Sep., 544 pp., $7.99)
Jen Talley Exum