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The Temple of the Sun: 01/28/09
Inspiration comes in many forms. For Moyra Caldecott, a trip to Scotland in 1975 was the spark for her trilogy, The Guardians of the Stones. The Temple of the Sun continues the story of Kyra, Karne and Fern. Where The Tall Stones was a mystery/ thriller with elements of magic, this one is more introspective.
This novel suffers from two main problems: pacing and an abundance of flowery language. The first novel was quickly paced to keep the tension building. Here though, the plot comes to a grinding halt, constantly stopping for Kyra to meditate or to learn a new lesson at college. There are also long passages of her vision quests which quickly cease to shock or even interest.
Besides the slow pacing, The Temple of the Sun hits on one of my pet peeves when it comes to Celtic fantasy: the Arthurian legend. Although Arthur isn't mentioned by name, there are enough trappings of the legend to bring it mind. There's a lady of the lake, an king in an unhappy marriage to his queen and the land suffering from it.
The next problem and another of my pet peeve: the return of the defeated antagonist. Wardyke is back for a guest appearance in the last third of the book. He isn't needed and he's just a last minute attempt to get the plot back in line with the first book. There's no reason for him to follow Kyra, Karne and Fern on their journey to the college. He was completely defeated and humiliated by them at the end of the last book. His return cheapens the ending of the last book.
The final nail in the coffin for my enjoyment of the book: predestination. I enjoy books with prophecy especially when the prophecy is a starting point with wiggle room for interpretation. The Tall Stones have a strong free will grown on the foundations of traditions theme. The Temple of the Sun tosses aside this thesis for one of predestination. There is less wiggle room for Kyra and it's frustrating to see her give into those teachings even when they threaten her life and those of her loved ones.
Comment #1: Thursday, January, 29, 2009 at 12:32:46
The first book of this trilogy was a favourite of mine as a kid - although I'd forgotten about it completely until I saw this post! I don't think I ever read The Temple of the Sun but I remember reading the last one in the trilogy and being very disappointed in it.
Comment #2: Thursday, January, 29, 2009 10:30:04
Shadow on the Stones (book 3) builds heavily on Temple of the Sun so I can see why you would have been disappointed in it if you'd only read The Tall Stones. I think the second book is the weakest of the three.