Review of MINDFIRE

Reviewed by Sally Manton

We're back in get-Avon territory here (not that I'm complaining). It is truly amazing the ways writers find to abuse the poor man, but this is really hitting him where it hurts, as some gods with a diabolical sense of - well, something - turn him into an empath. That's right, our Kerr, who has enough problems acknowledging his *own* emotions, now has to deal with those of everyone around him. To put it mildly, it nearly kills him...

This is a really good story; it has its faults, but the good points vastly outweigh the bad. Avon and Blake are both somewhat too soft for my taste - given the intolerable (to Avon especially) situation they're in, the potentiality for some *really* splendid fire-and-acid-drenched fireworks is a bit fumbled (they argue, but not nearly as much as the TV characters would have!!). This softer characterisation also impacts on the quality of the bond between them, which is strong and deep, but without the fierce but unsentimental quality I love. But, given that, I still liked both men and their interaction is warm, involving and quite believable.

Cally is *very* well-written, very much like the tough Auronar warrior we hoped for at the start of the series, and even given something of a sense of humour (not too much, though). Vila (again a bit too soft, but not as much as Blake and Avon) and Gan are more superficial, but well done; Jenna is a problem, since her negative qualities are in my opinion rather overdone, but they are also one of the fulcrums of the plot, so must be accepted.

And it's a very good plot, too, with believable and well-sketched secondary characters, a nicely-developed and interesting background, logical flow of action (and lots of it), some spectacularly formidable monsters, and the above-mentioned, horrendous and almost continuous mental and physical anguish that Avon goes through. Strongly recommended if you like to see him *suffer*...

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Last updated on 10th of August 1999.