This review is specifically for "The Compass of the Soul", but in reality, applies to the whole duology.
Slow. Stone slow. As Patricia McKillip has her own unique style, so it appears does Russell. I'm sure it appeals to enough people, but after this, I am hesitant to read any more of his stuff. It is too slow with not enough happening to keep my attention.
Unlike the "Swan's War" trilogy, which had action and brief instances of fast, furious action, nothing about this story can be said to be fast. Even the chase at the end of the story seems to languish and droop. The story is a sad and melancholic one and that seems to have steeped itself into the very bones of the characters. Sadness and despair.