A review by wealhtheow
The Walls of Air by Barbara Hambly


Part two of the Darwath trilogy, which was written in the early eighties. Rudy and Gil are still trapped in a medieval fantasy realm on the verge of complete collapse. A tiny portion of the population is holed up in the Keep of Dere, a mysterious black keep built before recorded history. The social order is slowly collapsing, which makes the power struggles all the more vicious. Rudy and the powerful wizard Ingold set out to get help from the remaining wizards, while Gil and Queen Minalde remain behind, trying to investigate the Keep’s secrets while maintaining the tense community. I skipped whole sections of Rudy and Ingold’s trek across the kingdom, because A) I don’t buy Rudy as a character and B) long descriptions of the land=unreadable. The other problem I had was that it seemed like every other page, one character of the other was described as “going pale” or “becoming white with strain” and then the unimaginable pain and suffering they were going through was described. I agree that the characters are heroes—I don’t need them to perpetually comment on how heroic they all are. I found it increasingly annoying. All that said, this is good solid fantasy, complete with fairly unique characters, a well-developed world, and a compelling danger.