Originally posted 01/26/12 in my meta/review blog
In Honor’s Paradox, Jame completes her training at Tentir, despite continuing attempts by other houses to get her kicked out. The general operation of the plot tends to revolve around Jame being a catalyst of sorts for correcting problems that she comes across. (This could be said to be the case for all of the books, but in this case, the beneficial results outweigh the usual negative and catastrophic ones.) Various secrets are revealed, Tori shows a lot of progress in learning to accept Shanir in general and his sister in specific, and Kindrie continues to develop a spine. (As a special bonus, Graykin also seems to be developing a sense of perspective.)
The book begins with Ashe retelling the story about how Gerridon decided to make a deal with Perimal Darkling. (This story has been told many times during the series, but it never really gets old and it underlines that the Kencyr as a culture have so many issues it is clear that they have a lifetime subscription.) Then we shift to Jame juggling her role as Earth Mother’s Favorite with her role as student at Tentir and her brother’s heir. (There are several points where she must choose one over the other; she generally chooses the former because doing otherwise makes Bad Things Happen, except for the one time the reverse is true.) As a result of this juggling of responsibilities she occasionally stumbles, which for Jame usually has epic consequences.
There were quite a few interesting character developments during the story. A lot of the book was focused on Timmon’s continuing efforts to woo Jame (and his repeatedly getting knocked for a loop by Jame’s dreamscape). This slowly progresses to a revelation about Timmon’s father that’s been waiting in the wings now since Dark of the Moon. Timmon slowly comes to the realization that his father is not the role model he’s been told, and Jame manages to keep this information from breaking the kid. (His own mistakes almost do that for him, however.) Gorbel is less of a fixture in this book, though he’s a continuing and often helpful presence, even when he’s directly ordered to go against Jame. Another recurring presence is the Dark Judge who is determined to find a reason to convict Jame (and anyone else he can get his claws on). There is also Beauty, the darkling wyrm who undergoes a final metamorphosis.
One of the scenes that I particularly enjoyed was an official presentation of the heirs of all the houses, which was occasionally interrupted by toddler. (Tori’s cousin Holly’s son and heir. It was ridiculously cute and funny and did interesting things with the more serious parts of the sequence.) We also finally discover what sort of creature Drie, Timmon’s half-brother and servant is bound to. (It was not exactly a surprise; I had guessed that it had to be something very, very unusual, and it was. How we find out is somewhat traumatic, but weirdly satisfying in the end.)
I really liked this book, and the conclusion. (I am so happy the entire Tentir arc was spread out to three novels. Seeker’s Mask and Dark of the Moon went by in the blink of an eye for me. With the slower pace and more drawn out action I was better able to enjoy the character interactions.)