Patricia Bray’s Chronicles of Josan caught me by surprise – I didn’t think it would be good enough to catch my attention, let alone drive me to wait eagerly for each installation.
The first installation The First Betrayal impressed me with its well-drawn characters, and how it kept me surprised as you just don’t know who’s good or who’s bad.
The series is about a monk who finds out that he’s in the body of a prince, and how he’s forced to live with the mind of another. Worse, he has to contend with the prince’s many enemies as they plot to kill him.
With a lot of fantasy books, you almost know straight away who’s the hero and who’s the villain. Some authors do not even bother to give their villains shades of grey to make their allegience more dubious, but not so with Patricia Bray.
One of the villains, as I found out in the first book, was someone I thought would be Josan’s love interest. Instead, she proved to be one of his most formidable enemies.
But Lady Ysobel is no heartless witch. Ruthless and terribly ambitious, yex, but possessing of enough heart to be likeable. That’s pretty difficult to pull off for an author.
Sea Change, the second book, took an amazing plot turn at the beggining, getting rid of a character that I thought would last till the very end. It was also more violent than I thought, with a rape and torture scene that may send weaker stomachs churning.
In The Final Sacrifice, Josan, now emperor of an empire that tried to murder him in the first two books has to find a cure for his deadly predicament: His body, or rather, the body of the real owner, Prince Lucius, is dying. The two souls trapped in the body has to find a way to seperate, but being an emperor has its drawbacks. There’s the safety of the nation to think about, for one.
Despite Bray’s excellent characters and careful plotting, I can’t help but feel that the Chronicles of Josan could have been better. The world could’ve been better fleshed out and more details could’ve been given to the plot to enrich it further.
In The Final Sacrifice, although riveting, I felt that Bray glossed over the plot points too quickly and too simply. I couldn’t figure out, for one, how Josan was tracked down by his people, for one.
Apparently, this is the final book of the series, but I felt that Josan’s story could go on chugging a couple of more books more. (Or at least, one nice, thick volume. I kinda hate all these Vol.1,Vol.2 business). Well, hopefully Bray will read this post and know that I want a sequel, please!