September 23, 2010

Review: Lord of the White Hell - Book Two

Lord of the White Hell - Book TwoLord of the White Hell - Book Two by Ginn Hale

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is definitely Part 2 (as opposed to Book 2) of the Lord of the White Hell story, since the beginning of this book doesn't even recap anything that happened in the first book (review here) -- it just jumps right in where the first book left off.

And I got absorbed into the story again very quickly. The details and setting were again vividly and cinematically rendered, and the characters were as relatable, with even more complexity added to their personalities.

Best of all, the fantasy magic grew in importance and scope in the second book, becoming a lot more imaginative, complicated, and significant to the story with personalized, individualized powers. There are magical training scenes in this part, too, which I almost always love to find in fantasy novels.

There's much less should-I-or-shouldn't-I waffling about the gay romance at the story's core, and the romance settles down to deal with the complexities of a relationship, with the drama coming from a culture clash rather than pretend diffidence for the sake of self-preservation. The sexual content leaps forward, too, with believably intimate scenes that comfortably straddle the line between too graphic and too demure.

While the sense of danger and tension about truly high stakes for the characters has been amped up potently for this part compared to the first book, the conflicts could still have been ratcheted up even higher leading to the climax, which would have made the final scenes more satisfyingly emotional. The conclusion was fitting, but not surprising.

And this book's cover is distractingly ugly, too.

Overall, the two books that make up Lord of the White Hell are highly recommended for anyone who would enjoy a well-written gay fantasy novel. Books in this sub-genre are rare enough that I usually even recommend the poorly-written ones, and it's a relief to be able to finally recommend one as simply good.

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