Review: Lion of Senet. Second Sons 1 by Jennifer Fallon

Lion of Senetsenet

672 pages
Orbit
published in 2002

The Second Sons Trilogy
1. Lion of Senet
2. Eye of the Labyrinth
3. Lord of the Shadows

Life has been good on the world of Ranadon, illuminated both day and night by the light of its greater and lesser suns. The dark ages were banished by Belagren, High Priestess of the Shadowdancers and her political position seems unassailable. However, a series of events escalate, breaking old alliances and breeding new and deadly rivalries. A volcanic eruption divides the seas between the kingdoms of Senet and Dhevyn, and an ill-omened sailor is thrown onto the island of Elcast. His arrival is a catalyst – baring old hatreds and secrets best left hidden. He brings fear to the Duke of Elcast and Antonov, the influential Lion of Senet is drawn to the island. The second sons of these powerful individuals develop a strong friendship, but it may not survive events set in motion by their ambitious families …

The story takes place in a world called Ranadon with different suns that now shine brightly night and day. This wasn’t always the case though. For a long time, the country was set in darkness and the people believed it to be a punishment by the Goddess. Only after a royal sacrifice did the suns rise and the Goddess was content again. That’s a fact. Or is it? The Goddess, who talks through the High Priestess demands many sacrifices and some people start questioning her power & existence. The story follows the lives of different characters from the powerful families of the country, the religious order, as well as some commoners who try to change their lives and step up. This all happens during a time of change, where people start questioning their belief and way of living.

The big topics the whole trilogy is based on are faith, religion and on the other hand rationality. The author shows us the way of thinking and the belief of the common people through flashbacks of the past and manages to create a picture of how the religion of Ranadon developed. I thought the way it was presented was very captivating and interesting. Maybe there was another reason for the disappearance of the suns. Maybe not. We don’t know it yet, but like some of the more rebellious characters I started to doubt it.

The characters are all very distinct and authentic. I think I never hated a character as much as Marqel, that little bitch. On the other hand, I adored Dirk for his intelligence and sharp mind. I find it hard to create characters as clever as him, but I really believed, that he’s an unusually smart guy. He knows this very well though and is pretty ruthless and cunning. Tia was alright in the first part, but later on she annoys me, because she’s complaining too much and bullies Dirk. The Lion of Senet, Antonov Latanya, is an interesting character as well, as he represents the faith of the country. He wholeheartedly believes in the Goddess and even sacrificed his own son for her. Believing that he is doing the right thing for his people.

There’s a lot of emphasis on the relationships between the different characters, friendship & betrayal. I would definitely call this a character-driven story. Especially because all the characters felt so real, I was totally invested in their fate. I was surprised how much the situation changed from the first to the last page of the novel. Characters that once were best friends hate each other. Characters who were poor and irrelevant gained a lot of power. And some mysteries still remain 🙂

I loved this book!

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