Review: Trinity Rising by Elspeth Cooper
Trinity Rising is the second offering in Elspeth Cooper’s The Wild Hunt quartet, a series originally planned by the author as a trilogy. The previous installment, Songs of the Earth, focused primarily upon Gair, a Novice Knight, who is cast out of the Suvaeon Order and branded a witch due to his ability to wield the power known as the Song. Cooper then covers off Gair’s struggle to come to terms with his new found power, his coming of age and ensuing lack of faith and further reveals a weakening Veil, behind which the Hidden Kingdom is striving to emerge in order to wreak havoc upon Gair’s world.
Having been subjected to what was, in all honesty, standard fantasy fare in her debut book, it was refreshing to see Cooper take some chances in her follow up book. The first third of Trinity Rising runs parallel to the events that occur in Songs of the Earth and provides an alternate viewpoint from Gair’s nemesis, Savin, and in similar fashion provides additional information to some of the other minor POV characters that we were fleetingly introduced to in Songs of the Earth. In employing this method, Cooper shows how much more confident she is in her own writing style and this definitely worked well in providing the reader with an additional perspective and some further background information. Concurrently, Cooper introduces us to Teia, a girl of the Crainnh clan who finds herself being used as a chattel to serve the needs of her clan’s new Chief, Drywyn. But gifted with the Talent, Teia sees naught but death and destruction in her foretellings of the Northern clans as they look to unite under Drywyn, whom the Speaker, Ytha, looks to elevate to Chief of Chiefs in order to reclaim the lands that they had lost to the Empire.
Having firmly established the additional major POV of Teia, we are not actually reintroduced to Gair until quite some way through Trinity Rising. When we pick up his story again, he is mourning the loss of his previous lover and only due to a previously made oath to Alderan, which duty forces him to uphold, does he then accompany him to the desert lands of Gimbrael in order to assist in the finding of an artefact that might provide a glimmer of hope in defeating the dark hordes of the Hidden Kingdom. Whilst Gair’s storyline is not moved on greatly, Cooper develops his character in pleasing fashion from one where he was close to perfect, to one in which he is much more believable and easier to establish feeling for.
Trinity Rising is most definitely improved fare from Songs of the Earth and demonstrates Cooper’s growth as a writer. Whilst her first book, in her own words, was a fluke and a mix of white-hot creative fury and time which, in my opinion, consisted of a muddled confluence of events at times, Trinity Rising is a much more organised and structured affair that seems to benefit from the author having that first novel under her belt. This increased confidence also enables Cooper to expand the number of characters and POVs employed, in addition to building out her world further to the point where a map would certainly have been a welcome addition.
What doesn’t come across as well, though, and most especially for those who might have delicate sensitivities, is the over exposure to sexual acts which tend towards the more coarse in nature. Additionally, the main gripe I had with the predecessor book, being its lack of originality with respect the world building and the peoples that inhabit it, also still remains. The introduction of the Clans and Gair’s interaction with the desert setting again mirrors inhabitants and customs from our own world. These points aside, Trinity Rising presents very accessible prose and an extremely well paced plot. Coupled with better character development and the resultant cliff hanger ending, there is plenty to enjoy within the story and furthermore, much to look forward to with the next installment, Raven’s Shadow.