Review: Deep Water by Pamela Freeman (Orbit)


Deep Water

When I wrote my review of Moving Target I said I was a bit slow on the follow through, a few months shy of three years between books in a series in fact.  Well Deep Water coming up to two and a half years feel almost as a bad. The stupid thing is that after reading Deep Water I’m again kicking myself for not reading it sooner, which is something I’m slowly addressing in my reading choices. There will be more older book reviews here mixed in with the new shiny.

Back to the Domains. In book one, Blood Ties, Freeman introduced us to Bramble, Ash and Saker each playing the main parts in her story. This time we get the added view point of Leof who played a pivotable role in Brambles story and now is playing a bigger role getting his own screen time.

The storytelling style of The Castings Trilogy is interesting. Not only do we get the story from the viewpoint of each of the characters we get asides from several of the secondary characters.  This could be distracting but it’s a story that is built on understanding the whole picture. And that’s what makes this middle of the trilogy of the book full of fascination rather than feeling it’s filing to the next book. It changes understanding of the board.

The role that Gods play in the lives of the characters is more tangible and powerful than first thought. And they aren’t the only supernatural force that has a strong influence. The Forest and the Lake play their part not only as a backdrop but as characters in their own right. I don’t mean physical presence but just as the Gods are manipulating and shaping the story so are they but in a more obvious and perhaps helpful way.

What I found most enjoyable was the switch that Freeman has made in the understanding of the founding of the Domains and she found a way of communicating that to both the reader and Bramble that fundamentally changes the quest.

It’s also changed by giving us an insight via Leof who as warlord Thegans right-hand man (it’s a bit of a sympathetic view, due to his experiences with Bramble in Blood Ties). He acts of a bridge as Thegan doesn’t believe in the gods of their influence and the reality of what Thegan, thanks to Saker, and the ghost army is raising, is now facing.

This time even though Bramble gets most of the screen time it doesn’t feel so imbalanced as the movement of the story doesn’t linger too long. In fact the chop and change of view point is craftily used in the Bramble sections to build a strong connection between her and the long dead Acton, who influence on the present is  the foundation here.

Also impressive is how well Freeman handles the feel of each of the characters she introduces. None of them feel like place holders. And the asides prove how well thought out they are, which as mentioned above isn’t the point of them, but it’s those touches that makes this an fascinating and absorbing tale.

A review of the next one, Full Circle, is coming sooner rather than later.



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