Silver Eve, by Sandra Waugh

Last year's Lark Rising was a delight—a dreamy, thoughtful classic fantasy novel aimed at middle- and high-school readers, with a complex heroine and compelling larger world. The novel wasn't perfect (it was too short to do full justice to the material, leaving large sections underdeveloped), but it was good enough that I cracked open the sequel, Silver Eve, pretty much the second it arrived.

Silver Eve switches the perspective from prophetic Lark to her cousin Eve, a gifted healer. Reeling from the destruction of her village, distraught over the death of her beloved, and magically compelled to continuously search for people to help, Eve spends most of the first third of the story in an exhausted, suicidal haze. Her mood is not improved by the discovery that she is actually the Guardian of Death, the second of the four Guardians destined to save the world from chaos (or, of course, die trying).

Even by middle-book standards, Silver Eve is a mixed bag. The romance is underdeveloped, but the world-building is excellent. I loved the way Waugh celebrated Eve's mundane healing skills (shades of my beloved Tiffany Aching), but I was disappointed that her most spectacular power only makes a brief appearance. The ending is irritatingly obscure, but I assume the situation will be clarified over the next two books. Once again, I was left with the frustrating feeling that most of these problems could have been solved if the author had just devoted more time to them. This type of high fantasy can't be done on a page budget, Ms. Waugh. It needs space—many hundreds of pages' worth of space—to breathe.

Review based on publisher-provided copy.
Posted by: Julianka


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