Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Battle for Darracia series by Michael Phillip Cash

By Ed

On the planet Darracia, an ever-widening social gap between its inhabitants is causing turmoil that is fracturing a once peaceful world.  Struggling with his identity, nineteen year old Prince V'sair must harness the power of the elusive Fireblade, the secret to a warrior's heart, in order to overcome his uncle Staf Nuen's lust for supremacy.  Will the energy of the Elements gide the young prince to his true destiny or will Staf Nuen conquer Darracia?  (Schism, from Amazon)

The Darracia saga continues with all the key players spread out and searching for answers throughout the solar system.  Prince V'sair struggles to hold his fractured kingdom together without help from his family.  His stepbrother Zayden is on a vengeful hunt for his evil uncle Staf Nuen.  Tulani navigates her two worlds trying to bring them together.  Staf Nuen, the orchestrator of the original coup, is making unholy alliances with nefarious new allies.  Like the comet zipping across the horizon, all the different factions are heading for a collision course that will test both their faith and power.  (Collision, from Amazon)

Imprisoned on the dead moon of Bina, trapped at the bottom of the cold Hixom Sea, lockedin a cell in the flooded Desa and blinded and defeated in the Eastern Provinces, the ruling class of Darracia is defeated without hope.

In the conclusion of the Darracia saga, V'sair, Tulani, Zayden and Reminda must dig deep and find both strength and faith to rise from the depths of the impossible and restore order to their home planet from Lothen, Staf Nuen and the evil armies of Geva.  (Risen, from Amazon)

In Schism, we thrust into a world with absolutely no background, very little detail, and are basically told we had to like it.  The protagonist, Prince V'sair, seems to be the only character of any merit, the only one with an interesting story to tell.  As a half-breed prince, his struggles to fit in and be accepted seemed plausible.  We are given brief glimpses into the lives of his parents, his treacherous uncle, and his love interest, Tulani, who's basically pimped out to him by the queen.

Mr. Cash fails to firmly establish the genre he's trying to create:  is it science fiction or fantasy?  Caught in a landslide, not much of an escape from reality.  He talks of interstellar travel, space ships, alien races from multiple planets, while at the same time the characters are communing with the Gods and wielding mystical blades of fire.

The finale of the first book was too quick and honestly didn't set the stage for the furtherance of the series.  It felt as though the story could have ended there, and I would have been happy if it had.

But, we continue on to Collision, where Mr. Cash tries to further flesh out his non-descriptive story.  We're given a little more back story on V'sair's bastard half brother Zayden, but not enough to warrant any real feelings for the character.  Meanwhile, V'sair and Tulani pine for each other as they struggle to bring the people of their planet together.  I don't buy this relationship at all.  A single tryst in the jungle and they're meant to be??

The traitorous uncle returns in the finale of the book, to reclaim his planet with little more than pistols and a few surface missiles.  Really??  You expect me to believe a species that has mastered interstellar travel relies on weapon technology no greater than a six shooter??

And so we go to Risen.  This book was the quickest of the three for me to read, as I felt the author himself was getting sick of it, and just wanted to wrap it all up.  The introduction of yet another species is made, purely for plot convenience.  There's no way a species existed on this planet for eons and no one had a bloody clue.  V'sair's uncle is given a horribly dishonorable ending and Zayden's given an undeserved hero's charge.  It was as if Mr. Cash was looking for an easy way to tie things up, rather than one that felt like it belonged in the story.

On the whole, this series was a big disappointment.  My wife really enjoyed his other books, so go read those instead.

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