I really like that this series is out there, full of characters outside the traditional fantasy mold, full of female characters, in a world created by a goddess. And it helps that there’s dragons and that the most important relationship through the books published is that of Freelorn and Herewiss. And again, that they have a realistic struggle to adjust to new things, to find their feet in their relationship and keep it ticking over without letting it stagnate, to find room for each other. There are some really great scenes, like the section in Lionhall or some of the battle scenes.
One thing I really, really liked was the characterisation of Cillmod, and even Rian. They’ve been boogeymen for so long, and this book finally expands them a little. Cillmod turned out to be especially interesting. It was great to see some ambiguity, some signs of another side of the story.
But. I don’t know. For me, it just doesn’t quite click. Sometimes I feel like the issue of the Goddess is hammered home too hard, too frequently; sometimes I want the characters to stop thinking so much about getting into bed with each other, because hey, there’s actually a war going on; sometimes the tone just feels pompous or… or something I can’t quite put my finger on, but in any case find offputting. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it — I wouldn’t have finished the three books which have been written if I didn’t — but I’m not sure it needs the fourth unwritten book, and I’m glad enough to leave it here.
The Door into Fire, Diane Duane Review from July 27th, 2013
I can’t believe how long this has been lingering on my to read pile. I’ve had Diane Duane recced to me so many times, and I have a ton of her books. I guess I was partly saving it so I had something awesome to look forward to, part afraid it wouldn’t be awesome.
Well, it didn’t bowl me over. I do love the characters, that they have their flaws and get things wrong and love and struggle and share. I love the fact that they’re openly pansexual and polyamorous as a society, and that’s done realistically too — they still have those moments where someone will go with another person to hurt their main partner, someone will be overly possessive… I loved that relationships like that between Herewiss and Lorn weren’t romanticised, that they could and did hurt one another — and then made up.
There were things that felt less than original, a bit derivative: the whole pseudo-medieval setting, of course, and the Mother-Maiden-Crone thing. I come across that a lot in Arthuriana, and while I appreciate the power and rightness of the imagery, I’m not usually fond of it. But then on the other hand there’s this world’s creation myth, and the place of love within that creation, which somewhat redeems that to my mind.
At times it was too navel-gazing on Herewiss’ part, at times it was a bit info dumpy — but I read it all in one go, and had a horrible lump in my throat at the end of the story, so I don’t think I could give it less than four stars. Now to make sure I get round to the other two books…