- TITLE: Trinity Rising (The Wild Hunt #2)
- AUTHOR: Elspeth Cooper
- PUBLISHER: Gollancz
- PUBLICATION DATE: July 26th 2012 (UK)
A little over a year ago, Elspeth Cooper’s Songs of the Earth completely blew me away with its elegant simplicity and neoclassical approach to a very familiar fantasy story; that of a young man with abilities beyond his control, and a story woven around him that will change his life and shape the world, which hangs in the balance.
I’m a big fan of neoclassical. I love it, in fact, and whenever I get the chance to, I talk to writers about it. I did with Cooper and after the interview with her and following the monumental success of Songs of the Earth I had high hopes for Trinity Rising (formerly Trinity Moon).
The best thing about Cooper is that she can write. Maybe it sounds like a bit of a given point with a traditionally published and successful writer, but is it? There are countless writers who are storytellers, yes, but writers; true artists with words? Poets? There are fewer than you think, and to come across one who can weave a tale with one hand, whilst toting an elegant, beautiful prose style in the other is a pretty rare find. Cooper’s prose is beautiful. She’s a poet of a writer; in a few sentences she’s got you by the imagination, by the heart, and she’s taking you for a ride through her colourfully populated, eloquently written world.
Naturally, it’s not just the prose that’s important, but it’s rare that the nuts and bolts of a story are good enough alone to really blow some trumpets about.
Trinity Rising does not suffer from “second book syndrome”; it does, however, offer something a little different. Instead of ploughing forwards towards the third book, which would speed inevitably towards the grand ending of book four (yes, The Wild Hunt is now a quartet!), it offers a story that doesn’t concern itself with staging or placement, and merely rolls up its sleeves and gets on with business. There is a sense of a beginning, and of an end, but rather there’s the notion of life and story progressing as though we’ve simply happened upon it mid-flow.
It’s refreshing to see a writer just tell the story and to hell with the usual fuss over structure: it’s better for the freedom and makes for a surprisingly exciting and tense book.
We’re introduced to a few new faces in Trinity Rising, and reunited with Gair and a handful of other recurring characters from the first book. There are a lot of POVs in this book; I did a quick hand count, taking into account the handful of times where sub-characters take the lead for a half-chapter or so, and I needed both hands. There are more than I’m used to, and I thought it would jar at first with the minimalistic approach to POV from the first book. It didn’t, however; it added to the story, feeling as though you were quite literally watching the events of the story unfold from every angle possible. Cooper handles the vast cast seamlessly well.
The story moves towards the rising of the trinity moons; an alignment that usually brings ill portends. Teia is a young girl formerly attached to the late chief of a clan from the plains and mountains outside the Empire’s reach. She is gifted with the Song, although she has sought to keep her power hidden from the clan’s powerful, ruthless Speaker, Ytha. Required in the bed of the new chief and carrying the child of his father, Teia is a thorn in the Speaker’s side—one she finds it increasingly difficult to remove. Teia must stand up to Ytha, defend herself against and escape from Drw before he is named Chief of Chiefs, and act upon the dark, bloody foretelling she sees through her power as Banfaíth. The Wild Hunt is coming; the Raven’s Hounds are coming, and Teia feels their breath on the back of her neck no matter how fast she runs. If she is to save her people and their lands, Teia must consider all available options—even if that means losing everything dear to her in the process.
Meanwhile, Gair nurses a broken heart and is swept away to the lands in which every face will remind him of his lost love, and all because of his honour-bound word to Alderan. The Guardian is in search of the starseed and he will stop at nothing to find it, because the alternative doesn’t bear thinking about. But of course, there are others who seek the starseed.
Savin plots ruthlessly and with complete entitled abandon as he seeks out the starseed. He finds himself perplexed by Gair’s abilities following the events of the previous book, but continues to treat with the dark creatures from beyond the Veil in order to fulfil his goals. He is a dark, loathsome and bratty antagonist who is seen fully through his own narrative in Trinity Rising. Cooper writes an imaginative, hateful villain who is there to be hated with incredulous rage (which is always fun!).
The pacing is precisely what it needs to be: constant, relentless and inevitable. Cooper rushes nothing and nothing drags for longer than necessary. The story is exactly what it needs to be and it is told in just the way it needed to be told. It is an excellent example of how to carry on a series.
There are several new story arcs introduced, and none are resolved during the book. This is one of the aspects of Cooper’s writing that really feels like a story, instead of a “book”. There is no set structure, just the plot. By the end of Trinity Rising we are left hanging at the end of several threads, seeking answers and continuation. We are left thirsty and ravenous for more.
The Dragon House (expected 19th September 2013, as per Amazon UK) will be an eagerly awaited instalment, in which I will be diving head first, just to wrap up the hanging threads left dangling from Trinity Rising.
Cooper is a storyteller who weaves words like a master, and whose prose is deep, elegant and magical.