For my first Speculative Fiction Reading Challenge review for 2012, I chose Battle Dancer by K.M. Tolan, the final chapter in the Dancer series.
It took me a while to finish reading this, for varying reasons, but mostly because I knew this was the last book and I didn't want it to end.
However, like Tolan stated in the story: 'Everything ends.' And the grand finale did not disappoint!
Picking up after Defiant Dancer (book 3 for those uninitiated), it follows the story of Mikial Haran, a warrior class humanoid who becomes a Great Suria (a sort of spiritual leader and a really big deal for the Dessan people). Mikial learns to face her demons, which is mainly herself, while trying to guide her segregated people into a solid, unified planet. A daunting task, especially when she's managed to ostracize everyone close to her as the powerful shadow of being a Great Suria consumes her. Of course, the pesky humans get in the way to make things worse, and the little green Me'Aukins have drawn her into a war with the humans.
Mr. Tolan manages to draw out the worst qualities we humans have in the form of General Powel, a truly nasty specimen. There were many moments I wanted to jump inside the book and give this dude a beating. But, our best qualities are redeemed in the form of Ryan Donald, who has been around from the very beginning.
Battle Dancer is about friendships and love, the bewitching charms of power, the courage to face your inner demons, war, politics, and battle like a good old-fashioned fist fight. This was a truly enjoyable read as I caught up with my old friend Mikial, and it's with a bit of melancholy that I say goodbye. Thanks, K.M. Tolan!
My next book in the reading challenge: Zirconya - The Sage of Aluh-Nehn by Diana Ilinca.