More than five hundred years have passed since the legendary age of Camelot and the Stewardry, the magical order charged with protecting the old ways of power and magic, has fallen into decay, disorder, and distrust.
Now Hywel, a new king promised by prophecy, has come to claim his crown. But as he journeys toward his throne, those preparing the way are besieged by agents of destruction – from within and without. A great evil stirs at Hywel’s coming, unleashing a corrupting power intent on his destruction and opening the gates to a hellish army that will sweep across the land and plunge it into an era of terror and darkness.
As a sorceress born of an ancient bloodline sworn to defend the Stewardry at all costs, Alwen is determined to fulfill her oath.
Yet when black magic begins claiming those closest to her and traitors plot to steal the Stewardry’s source of power, she realizes that the king’s survival – and that of all the realms – may require that she sacrifice her own.
Design – ? Rating – 3/5
The cover of the 2nd book in this series is what led me to this book. This cover is so ornate that it invites a closer look. I really like the colors – they go well together and there’s enough contrast to make it interesting. The framing effect is nice, but the image inside is a bit too typical fantasy novel to be compelling. I don’t care for the raggedness of the font, but I do like how the title is in shadow toward the top of the frame.
The Well of Tears is a bit different than my usual read because it follows a family and a few other characters. The woman at the core of the novel is married with two older teens, which is definitely not something I relate to. Being a fantasy book, the characters’ ages are not really of much concern. I enjoyed this book, although I was drawn more to the teens’ stories and the warriors’ battles than to the main character’s purpose.
- Glain – Glain is a maidservant at the castle who is plagued by visions of the danger approaching. She is someone who sees and hears a lot of important things because of her role. Glain is instrumental in the passing of information, and I found her to be much more interesting than Alwen. She’s right in the middle of what’s about to happen but she has to find her own way to help since she’s neither a warrior nor a sorceress. I’m excited that the sequel seems to follow Glain as the main character.
- Rhys, Odwan, + Eirlys – Rhys and Eirlys are Alwen’s children. Odwain is a soldier who falls in love with Eirlys. Now, I didn’t particularly care for or about Eirlys as it felt like she only served as a way to bring Odwain into the story, and to have something sad happen. However, I do really like Rhys and wish he were in more of the book. Odwain is interesting because he’s a soldier, but I’d love to see him doing things of his own accord and not just in reaction to whatever’s going on with Eirlys.
- prophecy – Prophecies that are easy to understand don’t interest me. The prophecy in this book concerns a future king, and politics are not my favorite thing to read about in my fiction books. Although the prophecy is what brings Alwen and her family to the castle, the plot is driven by a betrayal rather than the prophecy itself.
- plot / summary – The summary is about Hysel, the future king who only shows up at the very end when all the danger of this book has already passed. I feel let down because the summary is most likely more descriptive of the whole series, whose length is uncertain. While the plot of this book is not without action, it is clearly just setting up whatever else is going to happen and doesn’t leave you feeling like you’ve read a story that is complete on its own. The plot is also lacking mystery – it is very clear, due to the 3rd person narration that tracks the movements and thoughts of nearly every character, exactly who is betraying whom and why.
- sex – While I have absolutely no issue with a bit of sex in a story, this sex was a bit much. It’s nice that there’s a sex scene between Alwen and her husband, but it is very troubling that it focuses so much on Alwen submitting to Bledig. The sex between Eirlys and Odwain is troubling as well because she is dying when Odwain finally decides he doesn’t want to wait until they are married. Both scenes are rather descriptive for being completely unimportant to the story. So, yes to sex when appropriate, but no to sex when it’s unexpected and unexpectedly graphic.
- names / characters – The people and places of this book have ridiculously complicated names. There are also a lot of characters, and when I did remember who they were and why they were important, I still couldn’t pronounce their names. Ystrad Tywi, Seisyllwg, Coedwig Gwyn, Pwll…which are places and which are people? Not that it really matters since I can’t pronounce any of these things, and you get hit with all these impossible words in the book’s 2nd paragraph. I almost gave up there because there was never any chance of me keeping these things straight. Also, the guide to who is who and how they are related is at the end of the ebook. How monumentally stupid. Had I known at the start of this book that such a thing existed, I would have consulted it.
Unnerved by Rhys’s steady gaze, Glain looked away. It wasn’t the first time she had noticed him since he’d arrived, nor was it the first time she had noticed him noticing her. but she had never encountered him quite so closely before. Caught between Machreth’s icy scowl and Rhys’s infectious smile, Glain began to feel decidedly faint hearted. – pg. 79
Knowing that the fog was for their protection did not make the billows and shadows any less unsettling. Nothing and nobody ventured through without permission, nor without intent. Nothing and nobody could, not without considerable might – and powerful magic. That was exactly what made the watch from outside the gate so uncomfortable. and so dangerous. – pg. 221
Acquired: bought (ebook)