Reign of Beasts by Tansy Rayner Roberts – review

This review forms part of my contribution to the Australian Women Writers 2012 Reading Challenge. All my AWWC reviews can be found here.

Reign of Beasts by Tansy Rayner Roberts is the final book in her Creature Court trilogy. I’ve reviewed the previous two books elsewhere on this site (here for Power and Majesty and here for The Shattered City). To be honest I’ve been putting off this review for a bit – not because I didn’t enjoy the book (I did) but mainly because I’m finding it hard to come up with anything fresh to say about the third book in a trilogy.

Once again, I won’t give much of a plot synopsis for fear of spoiling this or the earlier books. From the Goodreads description – “The Creature Court are at war with each other. Three kings fight bitterly for power and dominance over Aufleur and the streets run red with blood.”

That about sums it up.

Reign of Beasts seemed more plot driven than character driven. There wasn’t as much sense of the characters developing or evolving as in the previous books, more reacting to circumstances in order to bring the overarching story to a conclusion. The conclusion itself was satisfying, with most of the questions raised throughout the series answered.

The one exception to the lack of character development was the threading of Poet’s back story throughout the book. These sections were very effective, even though the reader has seen how Poet turns out, his journey was very interesting and fleshed out some of the history of the Creature Court itself.

The previous books focused on the one city – Aufleur, with very little exploration of the world outside the city. Reign of Beasts has an expanded sense of place, with the city of Bazeppe featuring much more strongly. This broader landscape strengthened the story, providing a heightened sense of urgency as the consequences of failure increased.

The writing is very tight, with a good balance of drama and humour. The dialogue was particularly effective – the interplay between some of the minor characters was very entertaining. In fact, the minor characters somewhat stole the show generally, I found myself much more invested in them than some of the more major characters.

This book has lots of raunch. I mean lots. But then, if you didn’t like a bit of raunch in your reading diet I suspect you wouldn’t have got this far through the trilogy. So what are you complaining about?

I thought so.

Overall I found this a very satisfying end to the trilogy. Highly recommended.

I also reviewed this book on Goodreads. View all my reviews.

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This work by Mark Webb is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Australia License.

Author: mark

A writer of speculative fiction and all round good egg. Well, mostly good. OK, sometimes good.

3 thoughts on “Reign of Beasts by Tansy Rayner Roberts – review”

  1. Great review. It's hard to review books that come as part of a series. I never know how much detail to give. I am always afraid of spoiling the earlier books. I also find, as I think you did too, that by the third book I could be repeating myself. But, you did a great job.

    1. Hi Victoria,

      Yes, I agree – I wrote and then cut out a fair few comments when I realised I'd already said them in the first two reviews!


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