Joelene Reviews: Elspeth Cooper's - "Trinity Rising"
Life in the Wolf Clan is never easy; for fifteen year old Teia it is even harder. As the concubine of the late chief, she finds herself in a perilous political position. Should she be with child, the sadistic new chief, Drwyn, may take measures to keep the child from ever having a claim to leadership. Her only choice, one that will estrange her from her family, is to become his concubine. This step puts her right into the terrifying and powerful clan Speaker’s sights. Although untrained, Teia has powers that she must keep a secret at all costs. Visions of death haunt her, though, and it seems as though Drwyn and the Speaker are leading her clan down a path of destruction.
Meanwhile, Gair is mourning the loss of his lover. He longs for revenge or oblivion, but his mentor, Alderan, has other plans. Together they search the libraries in the southern deserts in the hopes of finding information that may help them in the coming war. Violence is broiling there too, and all of Gair and Alderan’s skills will not be enough to keep it from spilling over.
Trinity Rising is the second book in the Wild Hunt series. Despite this, it holds together near perfectly on its own. There are enough mentions of the past to catch newcomers up to speed, but not so many that it would bother people who have read the first novel.
While Gair was the central character in the first book, Songs of the Earth, Trinity Rising introduces Teia and much of the story centres on her. It’s a brave decision to give readers a new major protagonist partway through a trilogy, though also a necessary one here. Evidently Cooper wasn’t willing to sacrifice the emotions that Gair would feel at the death of someone that he loved deeply, and his story here deals with grief, rage and listlessness. Without Teia, Gair would be unbearable to read. He is hung up on Aysha’s death, both physically and emotionally. It cripples him to a point that he cannot think of anything but vengeance. Teia provides the balance of action and contemplation, though her own circumstances are dire.
While there are several well-developed female characters in Trinity Rising, I found that I had the same problem here as I have with many fantasy novels. The women are consistently undermined by men. And yes, this is set in a fantasy realm based on historical human civilisation, but even so. I love adventure. Adding fantasy to my adventure only makes things more amazingly shiny. Sort of rubs the shine right off when a girl’s agency narrows down based on what the guys around them want, especially when it’s not always shown to be a bad thing.
This isn’t to say that women in Trinity Rising aren’t strong. Teia is smart and proactive and basically carries this novel. She is put into a terrible situation, but from the outset uses all of her resources to find out more about what’s happening and the best course of action. When the time comes to act, she does not hesitate. Another character, Tanith, is similar in her ability make decisions and stick to them without second-guessing herself. Both her father and former lover, however, doubt her ability enough to impose their will over hers.
While Trinity Rising is remarkably well-written, towards the end is where it really begins picking up. As most second novels in a trilogy go, much of the journey here is setting up for the finale. Alliances are made on either side, battle techniques planned and the enemy assessed. It will be interesting to see how all of the pieces come together in the final novel.
Trinity Rising – Elspeth Cooper
Orion (July 26, 2012)