Top critical review
Was this even written by Modesitt?
Reviewed in the United States on December 15, 2017
To start, I Love L. E. Modesitt Jr's work. I've read all of recluse, I love the Imager series, and was excited about a return to recluse. This book was a disappointment. It read like an amateur trying to copy Modesitt's style.
Disclaimer, this is a disappointed fans rant, so you know what your I for. (There will be spoilers, but as this book was bad, there isn't much to spoil)
First off, the main character is the focal point of most of the Recluse books, yes exciting stuff happens, but regular stuff happens and we follow a person and watch as they naturally grow and live. Bot so much in this book. From the beginning Beltur, (who is annoying in a falsely humble/head stuck in the sand way), is thrown in the deep end, a good place to start, crazy events to set things off, but then things keep happening just in time for him to be involved or saved over and over again. He never grows, never learns. He's a week chaos mage, decides to be an order mage, and within a couple months is one of the most powerful mages in the continent. He never learns anything, he just trys it and is amazing at it. Example, sheilds, "just add order to your shields" well I've never used order, but okay, and bam, strongest shields his uncle has ever seen. (His uncle who is one of the stringent white mages in the country) try making cupridium, which hasn't been made In centuries, bam done in a day after three trys (but it was so hard and wasted so much bronze, as is mentioned over and over again)
Worst of all, no personal growth is seen, he's the same annoying twit at the end as at the beginning, just immensely more powerful three months later.
Second, the cover blurb is meaningless, and false. No one is chasing him ever. Period. Annoying.
Third, all of the characters are completely undeveloped, 2D stick figures to be a place holder. Evil, good, savior, mentor, with no other motivations.
Third, weird politically correct soap boxing. Never seen it before with Modesitt, some really good philosophy, but this is more like campaign bumper stickers. Example, income inequality. Beltur starts making cuprudium and makes 2 silvers a day, these one of a kind objects that no one in the world can make and sell for 100 times what he is paid and he says several times, it's not fair or right that I cake this much money for working so hard. Another gay marriage, or gay couples? The mentor of Beltur and his lover are gay, and everyone comments over and over how they are different, and isn't it wonderful, and aren't they so perfect, and no I'm not different like them, but they are so perfect. And they like to take "naps" together, and isn't that a silly thing to call it? Not that I'm against gay marriage, but what the heck is it doing in this book? Also anti trader (stock traders?) Because they are all selfish stupid short sighted imbeciles who will ruin the world. None of this was fit into the story or subtly suggested, it was crowbarred in and disrupted the story.
Finally, and not because there isn't more but because no one will ever read this, the laws of order and chaos only very bugle follow the previous books, weird things are allowed to happen, and order and chaos are more like mana floating around than the building blocks of the world. It's weird. They are now somehow like matter and antimatter, and when they touch they destroy each other, except when they don't and they contain each other.
Poorly written, poorly edited, bad dialogue, bad book. I will not be reading the rest of beltur story when it comes out. I hope Modesitt will quickly return to publishing good books.