When a fantasy setting casts its net upon the waters of epic adventure, it can either draw in riches or sink in a mire of predictability and staid fantasy devices. Eye of Truth doesn't sink; it swims - and with exceptional prowess and vigor, at that. Think Dungeons and Dragons or Tolkien, throw in a dash of Patrick Rothfus, add a second book to a successful high fantasy saga, add a quest for vengeance and sinister undead sorcerers, and stir. Now blend prophecy with an epic quest, a grueling life beset upon by murderous gnomes and deadly battle, and a female warrior who hasn't even recovered from her last challenging fight and you have a vivid story indeed in Eye of Truth.
The first thing to mention is that this sequel does not require any prior familiarity with Whitehorse Peak , the first in the series, to prove accessible to newcomers. It stands well alone in its epic adventure and succeeds in what any good series addition should do: fills in background events for context while creating stand-alone scenes and situations newcomers can easily enjoy.
This means that readers new to Badzey's fantasies are in for a treat as they absorb Dar and Andyn's encounters with gem-stealing thieves, face down betrayals and bounty hunters, sift through dragon treasure, and uncover Grey Rider enigmas that only deepen with their journey.
There are surprising moments of wry humor ("Connor held up his black leather armor and made a face. He poked a
finger through a blackened hole and eyed the water stains. "Sure. I’m made of money. I’ll just buy another set of enchanted leather armor") that blend well with a story line steeped in vivid descriptions of place, people and creatures: "He waited in the shadows, secure in his spell but leaving nothing to chance. A troop of dark elves, twelve strong, marched down the ink-black passage, their forms bright in his heat-vision. They passed through an archway but he remained where he was. A few seconds later, two immense spiders, each the size of a small horse, strode down the passage, multiple eyes bright. The giant arachnids walked right past his little alcove with only a faint clacking noise."
Under Badzey's guidance and prose, readers can feel the dripping walls, hear the 'click' of giant spiders passing close by, and become immersed in a world where elves and alliances are all to be questioned.
From court cases and unjust accusations to magical examinations and assessments, Andyn finds herself in increasing danger as she searches for peace and finds only convoluted lies and conflict. Is nothing safe?
Dar and Andyn ultimately uncover new truths that revolve around difficult choices, love, and redemption; and their journey succeeds in carrying readers through a fantasy world steeped in mystery and adventure. It's hard to go wrong with such a volatile mix; but it takes a skilled hand, indeed, to cast such a wide net, then (seemingly effortlessly) draw all the facets of special interests and personalities into a logical yet unexpected conclusion. Badzey is such a hand, and Eye of Truth is such an achievement, recommended for any reader who enjoys their high fantasy spiced with a bit of mystery.
Join the adventure of the grey riders in P.G Badzey's The Eye of Truth. There was a prophecy, a song of heroics and danger to come, of rising heroes, and a dark rider. On their quest to learn the truth and the meaning of this cryptic verse, Dar Cabot and his motley crew soon discover there are more dangers and secrets within their own ranks than they could have imagined. Friendship and loyalty are challenged as secrets capable of destroying their quest and their friendship come to light. Will the bonds they have forged during their previous adventure remain, or will foundations based on deceit by avoidance see them crumble. Time will tell, but it will not wait, and evil will thrive as those who should oppose it falter.
The Eye of Truth is the second book in P.G. Badzey's The Grey Riders series, written in a character-focused third-person perspective. Readers are drawn into a charming and rich tale of magic, loyalty, friendship, and secrets, mainly from the perspective of Dar Cabot. I enjoyed the complexities of the plot and characters, and their development and alterations as secrets are uncovered. I enjoyed the exchanges between characters, sometimes humorous, other times wrought with emotion. With good world-building and the inclusion of different cultures, characters of alternative religions, backgrounds, and races overcome differences and work together. The acceptance of who each one is, and their experiences together, strengthen the connection of the group, but that’s not to say they are infallible and unbreakable. Danger, action, threats, and camaraderie will keep the reader engaged as monsters and adventure, along with the impending threat of evil and assassins compel them to read on.