Monday, April 16, 2012

Review: The Lion Vrie

The only way to survive is to kill the ones you love.

Having barely escaped the siege of Adriel with his life, Luik is carried north to the realm of Tontha in an effort to weather Morgui’s all-out assault on Dionia. Here he sorts through the trauma of the recent past and attempts to piece together the whereabouts of his scattered Dibor, as well as his friends Fane, Hadrian, and Princess Anorra.

When work begins on fortifying Mt. Dakka, Luik returns to the wreckage of Adriel and uncovers far more than he had anticipated. Events unfold quickly, and his path is plagued by mysterious encounters with the taken, and haunted by the increasing effects of evil upon Creation. However, the growing darkness also gives rise to the forces of good, including rumors of the mythical Knights of the Lion. Summoned by the suffering of his countrymen, Luik risks everything in search of the fabled City of Ot, and his men embark on perilous missions to rescue the far corners of Dionia. But on the battlefield each faction of Luik’s devout Dibor comes face to face with the greatest opposition of all.

Evil, now matured into its most perverted form, pits mankind against itself: father against son, brother against brother. To hesitate means death; to strike means killing those they’ve sworn to protect. (From

The drama continues!

The Lion Vrie opens on the aftermath of Dionia's greatest defeat, and more than ever, Dionians need to rely on the Most High if they are to survive...or they'll be taken.

The Lion Vrie is, undoubtedly, the darkest of the three books in the trilogy. Luik and the other Dibor - as well as the remnant of Dionia - flee to refuge and gather strength, but by the end of the book, we're left wondering how they could possibly survive. There's a brief influx of hope, and then, little by little, things go wrong, until the cunning of the Enemy brings the world down on their ears.

The Lion Vrie may be the fastest-paced of the trilogy, and it's certainly a step up from Rise of the Dibor. It seems that, now that Sir Hopper has introduced most everything, including the characters and the world, he can now move forward at a greater pace. There are, for instance, many, many battles in this book, and you can feel the characters' desperation seeping out of the pages, and that keeps the pace going quickly. In my previous review, I mentioned the shiver-down-your-spine moments where everything goes wrong. Take those moments from Rise of the Dibor and multiply them by twenty, and you have the plot of The Lion Vrie. Add to this new tendrils of subplot - such as the drama unfolding on Dionia's sister world, Earth - and you have something dramatic indeed.

In this book, you not only have a feel that the series will be great, but that it will be an epic of giant proportions. (And, as you'll see in my review of Athera's Dawn, it lives up to the promise.)

By this time, I had grown attached to the characters, and that was part of what made The Lion Vrie a page-turner: I HAD to know what happened to the characters.

And speaking of the characters, all of them (those that were left, at least) grew in this book and developed very well. Especially the main character. Luik is one of those memorable people that are in my character hall of fame.

In Book Two, there was also a noticeable change in the Dibor. They had been youthful and elite warriors at the close of Rise of the Dibor, but in Lion Vrie they begin to shoulder bigger responsibilities, and Hopper shows that weight very well.

The writing style was also improved, and "bigger" than ever. By that, I mean that the prose has a dramatic flair that aids to the enormous scope of this book: the battle for an entire world.

And finally, I get back to theme again. I've already described the essential theme in my previous review, but there were new elements to it in this book.

First, the concept of the taken. There were many chilling scenes with the taken: it showed what mankind, once fallen, is really like. But it also leaves us on a note of hope: because the taken could be redeemed and join the ranks of the Most High once more.

Again, there were many more thought-provoking moments in this novel. Sowed in this installment were seeds that would be reaped in the last book: more on that in my review of Athera's Dawn. In addition to this, the people's reliance on God was emphasized once more. When despair and doubt kicked in, and the horrors of war were all around them, all they could do was cling to the Most High.

Unlike Rise of the Dibor, there were relatively few things I didn't like about this book. There were times where characters seemed like they acted out of character (and those were few), and the various technical problems continued (such as POV and telling).

However, the Lion Vrie was, overall, a fantastic sequel with a great continuing theme. You need to have the last book on hand when you finish it, because it's got a terrible cliffhanger.

Highly recommended.

Rated 9 out of 10. (Five stars.)