Book Review- The Star Scroll by Melanie Rawn

I know I said I’d post this yesterday, but I just couldn’t. I needed more time to stew on what I wanted to say. And I’ll be honest, even now I’m not completely sure. But, the longer I put it off, the further from the book and the experience I become. Now is the time.

This is the part where I tell you there will be major spoilers for both Dragon Prince and The Star Scroll. Read at your own risk.

When I picked Dragon Prince out of the pile of $1 books at my Mother-In-Law’s work, I was skeptical. Books with covers of unnaturally attractive men and women in sparse clothing isn’t usually my thing. But, the back cover synopsis interested me, and I’d heard Rawn name dropped by a couple of my preferred fantasy authors.

For a dollar, why not?
Dragon_Prince_cover

I loved it. I rejoiced and grieved with the characters as they endured trauma after trauma. And when it came time for the sequel, I knew I was hooked.

The Star Scroll picks up 14 years after the events of Dragon Prince. It also starts with Pol, the son of High Prince Rohan and High Princess, and Sunrunner, Sioned. I was worried that this book would focus more on the boy than his family, but Rawn appeased me with plenty of on screen time for not only Rohan and Sioned, but Chay and Tobin, and their grown children.

I think that’s part of what hooked me into this book. In Dragon Prince we were introduced to a very large cast of characters. And I loved them all. Chay’s charm and good-nature, even if it’s coupled with a temper. His wife, Tobin, sister to the High Prince, and her impatient and explosive nature. And all her wily political maneuvers. And their children, who I watched grow up. And there’s Ostvel, widower of Sioned’s best friend Camigwen, and former Steward of Stronghold, the seat of the High Prince. He also has a son, Riyan, who I adore.

And then, of course, there’s Rohan and Sioned themselves. In Dragon Prince, they’d just met, and though they loved each other, they tested each other a lot too. But, after 20 years together, they’ve become a power couple. I loved every second of them.

It’s the characters that have me so utterly entranced with this series. They’re the reason I keep coming back. But, the political intrigue and land disputes are pretty entertaining too!
Rawn Map

So, the main plot of The Star Scroll is that there is a pretender being lobbied for by Rohan’s enemies. If the pretender is accepted, he lays claim to Princemarch, a region of the continent that Rohan has promised to Pol. In fact, Rohan doesn’t even rule there. Instead he placed a Regent to hold the land until Pol was ready to take the seat himself.

There are diplomatic meetings, full of conversations laced with hidden meanings, and more than a few assassination attempts. And though Rohan is High Prince, he’s created a society that lives by the rule of law, not by the sword. If Masul, the pretender, can prove that he in fact does have claim to Princemarch, Rohan can do nothing.

And while this political intrigue abounds, there is an even bigger plot boiling behind the scenes. An ancient enemy of the Faradh’im (read: Sunrunners) has been plotting, and the political unrest makes for the perfect time to launch their plan.

Plots and ploys put so many beloved characters in danger, and not just their lives, but their relationships too. I read frenetically, often leafing ahead to see when an anticipated conversation would happen between two tense characters.

There are also a few key deaths, which causes a very interesting shift in power. I’m curious to see how it turns out in the next book.

And of course, there’s always the threat of Rohan and Sioned’s secret. Pol’s birth mother is not Sioned, but the much despised, and thankfully deceased, Ianthe.

Though Masul dies, and probably in one of the most satisfying scenes I’ve read in a long time, this book really just sets up for the next one. The novel ends on a happy note for Rohan and his family, with Sioned using her Sunrunner abilities to communicate with a dragon for the first time.
star scroll

But the ancient enemy, the Diarmadh’im, are still lurking and plotting. And it’s going to be up to Rohan and Sioned, and their family, to snuff them out.

The world in this series is huge. There are a multitude of princedoms, all ruled by someone with their own thoughts and ideas that don’t always align with Rohan’s. It’s dynamic, and feels young. There’s still so much the characters can learn about the world and themselves.

Obviously, I thought pretty highly of this book. I would recommend the series, and look forward to reading more from Rawn in the future, especially the final installment of the trilogy, Sunrunner’s Fire.
Sunrunner's_Fire

BZ

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