Servants and Followers (The Legends of Arria, Volume 2)
Servants and Followers begins slowly, but soon grows into a more interesting story. The book has three major plot arcs. Basha, the main protagonist, travels with his adoptive brother Oaka to find the Cup of Tau. The quest is meant to fulfill a betrothal promise Basha made to his girlfriend, Jawen, in the first book, The Smiling Stallion Inn. If Basha can return to his hometown, Coe Baba, with the Cup of Tau, Jawen will be enticed to marry him.
In the second arc, Basha’s adoptive mother, Habala, attempts to run an inn and bar called The Smiling Stallion Inn with her husband, Geda. Nisa, one of the employees, is mysteriously ill, so her mother, Brigga, fills in for her. In reality, Nisa has gone off to spy on Basha and Oaka and make sure their plans to retrieve the Cup of Tau aren’t thwarted by Doomba, an evil overlord.
The third arc of the story depicts Doomba’s machinations. He is trying to keep Basha and Oaka from reaching the Cup of Tau so that he might maintain power over his domain.
After Basha is bound to a powerful weapon, he, Oaka and their new traveling companion Monika consider that they might be Knights of Arria, legendary fighters from thousands of years ago. Basha’s quest might have more purpose than simply earning the love of a girl, as he might have the opportunity to eliminate Doomba’s evil for good.
While the book spans vast locales and the main protagonists are offered the trial of a lifetime, I didn’t notice much in the way of character development or location description. Basha is the archetypal wimpy underdog who doesn’t change much from his debut in the first book. He practices swordplay almost religiously, and wants to join the militia in Coe Baba, but grows nauseous at the sight of violence. He is hopelessly in love with his girlfriend, Jawen, but Jawen doesn’t show many redeeming traits that make her worthy of an epic quest. Basha and Oaka miss life in Coe Baba, but it is never made clear what is different about the new towns to which they are traveling.
Many fantasy readers will be drawn in by the promise of an epic quest, but for some following along with the first two installments, it will be too little too late. The Smiling Stallion Inn didn’t offer any hope for the flaky, on-again off-again relationship between Basha and Jawen. Were there more to Basha’s personality, I would have cared more about the circumstances surrounding his quest and his relationship with Jawen.
I have high hopes that the third installment, Power Over Death, which was just released this past June, and any subsequent books, will begin to tie up the story nicely, offering more character development and change, but Servants and Followers was just an interesting plot with nothing impactful or binding to hold the veteran fantasy reader’s interest.
|Page Count||410 pages|
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|Category||Science Fiction & Fantasy|