Review of “The Subtle Fiend”, by Jane Dougherty

Jane Dougherty Book 2

 

The pendulum swings….slowly, inexorably…

At the height–or depth, if you prefer–of the evil that consumed Providence, the leaders of the crystal-domed city made an alliance with Abaddon, the Destroyer, the King of Demons.

They touted him to the people as their ally against the threats from outside, and the people shouldered the burden of that favor for generations. Lost to them was anything that made life bearable–at least for those who were considered the “true citizens”.

Not so for the Danaans, the people snubbed and abhorred by the common and high citizenry. Only in their ramshackle hovels is there any happiness and love–and the others know nothing of them. And the Danaans know only of the cruelty of the others.

There’s also something else that can’t be overlooked: an alliance between self-serving individuals rarely will last for long. Each member of the alliance must constantly look over his shoulder for the possible traitorous behavior of the others. And with their own agendas most important in their own eyes, it can be understood that the trust levels and cooperation will be extremely low.

But things are changing. Caste overlaps caste in ways that were never envisioned by the leaders of Providence. And with understanding comes humanity, but not without blood shed and lives lost. New alliances are made, not with the lords of evil, but among the citizenry itself.

An excerpt from the book can give you an idea of what is in store: “Providence had never seen this before. The power of the Book was waning; long-repressed humanity was struggling to express itself in people who had never shown any emotions but anger and fear. They had been to the brink of horror, but they had pulled back.”

And that’s it then?

No. It isn’t.

The field of battle is carried elsewhere, while skirmishes continue on within the city. And the very thing that started the change is now in danger of extinction once again.

And the pendulum swings…

 

The more I read of Ms. Dougherty’s books, the more I find myself immersed in her world. To say that this tale would make a good movie would be a disservice; “The Green Woman Trilogy” should have a series or mini-series of its own. This series is so rich in story that a mere two-hour version would stunt its life and growth. The way she can put color and vibrancy into a world that is mostly brown and grey is beyond tremendous.

Every character, from the vile Protector to the girl, Hera, who fights through what she knows to become who she can be, are fiercely and meticulously painted by the author. This book is just as suspenseful and tightly-written as her first book and the short stories that have sprung tangentially from it.

Fans of dystopia would do well to pick up the entire series, and wait (impatiently in my case) for the third book, “Beyond the Realm of Night”.

 

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