A Man Rides Through - the conclusion of Mordant's Need
Let's quickly recap the setup done in the first book: The kingdom of Mordant on the verge of crumbling and Castle Orison is surrounded by the Alend army. Of course the massive hole in the wall doesn't really help matters much, especially since it is a self inflicted wound created after the Congery's ill advised attempt to summon a champion to help them defend Mordant. Said champion was translated from a futuristic world and upon arrival he promptly used his laser rifle to blast his way out through the castle wall and take off leaving behind a gap that can't be quickly repaired. At that point Mordant's King found that he was left with few supporters as almost everyone has chosen to ally themselves elsewhere, even his own daughters. That's no surprise as the Cadwal army is also marching towards Orison and it will likely arrive while the existing siege is going on so there is no reason to hope for a good outcome. Yet despite all of that setup from the first book this one still manages to get off to a slow start by finding a way to do even more. Sigh.
It is obvious that the feeling of overwhelming odds against the home team is what Donaldson was shooting for with but it is unfortunate that he needed to spend a book and a half to get it all done. Once the final confrontation comes together, the tension definitely ratchets up and it all makes for a thrilling finish, but it was just too little, too late. So while this two book series is loved by many I find myself in the camp of those who think there is too much build up and not enough pay off. Terisa Morgan and Geraden weren't terrible characters, but they also weren't strong enough lead characters for me to get invested in them. That lack of attachment means that the political intrigue lost its bite and it was ultimately up to the creative use of the magical mirrors to keep me engaged in the story. The magic system did keep me intrigued and entertained but it was one book worth of value in a two book package. If you don't think the magic system will be enough for you then passing on this series might be the way to go.
For the audiobook version Scott Brick does his usual solid job on the narration, so you either like his style or you don't and his performance here isn't about to change that.