1) This is the second book in Yvonne Hertzberger’s ‘Earth Pendulum’ series and a wonderful and intriguing book it is. This is Liannis’s story, woven into the history of kingdoms, into the suffering of Earth. It is a story of love and magic, of power and politics and change and as much about kingdoms as it is about people. It’s a book you won’t want to put down until you reach the last page – and you will then be waiting for the third book to come out!
2) As with the first book we have murder, romance, intrigue, a coup-de-etat and chapters that are really too short for this reader. Not only that, but I’m terribly mad at this book. Not that it was horrible, or badly written, or that it made me roll my eyes and curse any and all indie-writers. Far from it. Left field far from it.
This story rejoins our characters seventeen years later. Klast has since retired from his position as master spy and has a seer daughter, Liannis, with Brensa. Gaelen and Marja are older both with children of their own and Bargia and Catania are at peace with a good harvest. But, all is not well. In the kingdom of Liethe, there is unrest that quickly festers into a open wound that must be cleansed. The story is told from Lianna’s point of view introducing new characters and new dangers that must be overcome to see the Earth restored to her natural Balance.
Again, another quick read that focuses on the characters, allowing the plot to build through them rather than the usual plot/character development seen in most books. Through them the reader is able to understand the world and the part she plays in the goings on of the books. A great story that had just one flaw.
3)It Sopranoed me.
Right in the middle of the damn plot.
Has Earth’s balance been restored? What’s going to happen to Merrist and Liannis (Klast’s and Brensa’s seer daughter)? What about Lieth, the demesne whose corrupted leader wound up getting his country infected with the Plague and burned to the ground? What’s going to happen to it?
What about Brensa? I know what happens to Klast and I cried like a little kid.
These are the questions that must be answered, that have me hoping the third installment comes out rather quickly.
The wonderful thing about the series is it’s just not about the characters driving the story. Earth, the Mother, is a living breathing thing, that feels pain and acts accordingly. If she is hurt, she cannot give. The people inhabiting her have to learn to live in harmony with her in order to ensure plentiful harvests. It’s phenomenal the way the author weaves the story as an action/consequence. Aptly named, the `Earth’s Pendulum’ series is just that, a pendulum. If it swings in balance the Earth is at her best, loving and giving. But, knock the weight even gently, and the world falls into chaos.
It’s a lesson wrapped up in a novel.
The author should be proud of her psychologically complex characters that are a joy to read and a world with a depth of her own, that is just as much human as those on two legs walking her surface.
I wait on pins and needles for the third book.
(I have to know what happens!)
4) It’s been many years since I last read a fantasy novel but this one swept me into the story from the beginning, with a strong, simple, dramatic encounter that revealed the situation of the characters and the threads of the plot. The novel’s world was revealed subtly in the course of the story – the mark of a skilled author – and the characters caught my sympathy with their finely-drawn interactions. Family bonds and a budding romance are the real strengths here, deep and believable, which made the tragic scene near the end even more emotionally harrowing. I enjoy writers who can make me laugh and cry with their tales, and especially ones who have a social message underlying their work. This is a delightful book on many levels and I look forward to reading the other two in the series.
5) Through Kestrel’s Eyes continues the Earth’s Pendulum fantasy series of novels by Yvonne Hertzberger. The first in the series is Back from Chaos.
The saga continues, told from the first person narrative of Liannis, a woman seer who is connected with the Earth Mother.
“Liannis, the goddess Earth’s seer, her apprenticeship interrupted by the death of her mentor, must help restore the Balance. Until it is, Earth’s power is weakened, preventing Earth from sustaining the rains needed for good harvests. Drought and famine result.”
Like the first novel of the series, I found this to be a quick read. The events impact the rise and fall of kingdoms: coup d’etat, abuse of the populace, drought, famine, and plague. Discovering how all this balances out is what turns the pages, for activities that do not support nature weaken natural forces so that imbalances occur. For the seer Liannis, helping restore that balance is her life’s task.
One tag given to this novel is “fantasy romance,” and I feel that is accurate. Along with the civilization-affecting challenges of the novel are also the individual characters and their quest for happiness. The author Hertzberger focuses on women in this novel, and although this was in many ways illuminating for me, a male reader, I found myself lacking a character I truly identified with.
Liannis is the main character, yet because of her role as speaker for Earth, her characterization becomes elevated beyond the human in many ways. What balances this is the seer’s relationship with her servant Merrist, a soldier who loses a leg in battle and who then must revise his concept of self and role in life. Merrist was actually the character I connected to most.
As a romantic fantasy, the novel’s individual characterizations revolve around love: the love relationships between the adults in the novel (from book 1 of the trilogy), a young prince and princess, and the hints of forbidden love between Liannis and Merrist. These are compelling characterizations but not completely fulfilling for me. I suppose I found the social and political conflicts more compelling.
Other areas that moved the novel to “romance fantasy” and more for women readers were the following: a beautiful woman who courted power by flirting with two princes; a neglected and abused mother who fears her husband; a pig of a rapist who takes advantage of the political chaos; women abused by the political leaders; the healing and nursing necessary after revolution; and a wedding with a very important dress. These conflicts and events were, in many ways, the story. They make the story but also skew the story, in my opinion. Thank God for Merrist and his rehabilitation.
However, I did read this book quickly and did not want to put it down. As in the first book, I wanted to find out what happened next. I wanted to find Earth placed back in balance. Hertzberger does an excellent job of including the individual stories within the epic events of the series. The magic of Liannis is realistic within the context of the novel. She has visions sent from Mother Earth, and she relays the information to the significant leaders. This works quite well.
The perspective of this novel, though, is more a woman’s. If you greatly enjoyed England’s marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton (and I watched along with my wife), then you will find corresponding events in this novel: save your kingdom and find love. I considered giving this novel a “3-star” rating, but decided that my personal bias shouldn’t color my evaluation. It’s actually a technically more proficient novel than the first in the series and deserves an equal “4-star” rating.
Thinking about some hints delivered in the novel, I’m wondering where the third novel of the trilogy will take us. That’s an excellent sign.
Through Kestrel’s Eyes by Yvonne Hertzberger
This is the second in the Earth’s Pendulum trilogy. The first (Back from Chaos) was a book that nudged the fantasy genre into my reading list. It was a genre I really hadn’t explored that much.
The kingdoms of the One Isle are still plagued by corruption. If that’s not enough, the harvests are threatened by drought and famine threatening Earth’s balance. Liannis, with her power of seeing, is bound to apply her newly acquired ‘qualification’ to help redress the balance and aid her ruler rid the kingdoms of evil.
This second book follows on seamlessly from the first, despite the seventeen-year gap. I think, of the two, I enjoyed the first book the most…this one was a little slower. But I was really looking forward to meeting my favourite character, Klast, again, an older man now with a daughter, Liannis, who has taken on Liethis’ heavy mantle as Earth’s seer. I also enjoyed the growing—albeit wobbly—relationship that develops between Liannis and her helper, Merrist. It’s a relationship that walks a tightrope, as such liaisons are forbidden to seers. But the author shrouds this with tenderness and an air of ‘maybe’.
The main element of fantasy is an author’s imagination, and I continued to be impressed by Yvonne’s creativity, and, very notably, the way she threaded a fantasy tale with a modern reality. Her characters, although from a different world, are believable in context, and by the end I found that Merrist could well be ousting Klast from his place in my heart.
The lack of action in this sequel is more than made up for by its mellowness, insight and magical charm.
For more reviews please visit Amazon.com or Goodreads.com