This is the novel of Serroi, brave warrior-woman of the Meie, who knows she must overcome the ties set on her by Ser Noris, who raised her as his tool, or see her world crumble
The second in the Duel of Sorcery trilogy.
I have to say, I liked the first one better. Where the first book set up a parallel structure with Serroi's childhood and her present, this volume alternates between Serroi and a young village girl, Tuli.
Serroi's now on a quest with the headman she rescued, Hern. Her old rescuer/master/tormentor, the wizard Ser Noris, seems to be bent on destroying the world, and her hope to to find the wise but unpredictable hermit Coyote to try to save the world. However, with all the meandering about, getting chased by villains, and issues between Hern and Serroi, as well as Serroi suddenly and mysteriously gaining more powers that she had guessed she had, it felt very unfocused. I had a tendency to forget what this whole journey was even about.
I liked Tuli's sections better. The village girl has always been a little bit hoydenish, but now that she is getting older, she's growing away from her brother, and also realizing that as a woman, she may not fit into the accepted roles too well. To make things worse, a masculine-centered cult is taking over the old goddess-based religion, and society is becoming more restrictive in general, but for women particularly. Luckily, this society has always had the meie, a group of women who live independently... Tuli may be able to get away, to their Biserica (training school).
I know this sounds a bit cliched, but I enjoyed it, and found Tuli to be a believable, engaging character.
However, the two plot threads never meet up at all... It's that middle-book-of-trilogy issue, but I don't think this worked all that well as a complete novel...
Brave Serroi must overcome the magical ties set upon her by the wizard who raised her as his tool. Good story, well done.