Edith Pattou


Science Fiction / Fantasy


Date Reviewed:

January 4, 2021

est is the sequel to East. I really enjoyed East and so had high hopes for West. I think West turned out pretty well, but somehow it wasn't quite as magical for me. It is fun to read West, but it didn't quite reach the classic level of East - an admittedly high bar to match.

In West, Rose, the likable, determined heroine of East, returns for a new adventure. Pattou's best talent is her ability to generate likeable characters, and Rose is a great character. Rose is unwavering in her quest to free her loved ones from the evil troll queen. Rose is courageous, and (although she does have some doubts) determined, overcoming fears and perils with her cleverness and grit.

At the start of the novel, word comes that a great and unusual windstorm came crashing across the sea, sinking ships and killing many men. Alas, Charles, who is Rose's husband, her beloved "White Bear", was on a ship when this storm hit. Could he have drowned? Word comes from a distant shore - a sailor met with Charles, Charles did survive the shipwreck! But alas, the letter from the sailor relates Charles then perished shortly thereafter from his injuries. Charles is dead, his ring is returned with the letter, and the ring is genuine.

Rose is devastated and in disbelief. Could this be sorcery? Rose believes that she would "just know" if Charles had indeed died. Something doesn't seem right, so Rose leaves her son, Winn, with her family, and boards a ship and sails to the town where Charles breathed his last. There, she meets a man who was mortally wounded himself in the same storm. The man has made a miraculous recovery, and is able to describe his encounter with Charles on his deathbed. Rose is still suspicious - it just doesn't sound right. Rose prowls the town, and spots a suspicious character that looks trollish. She follows at distance, out of town and into a mountainside with a dark cave and the start of another adventure.

I have a couple of small disappointments with West. First, why do the trolls blurt out their plans? They always tell Rose where they will be and what dastardly deeds they intend to commit. Sure, it seems quite unlikely that Rose could possibly thwart their evil schemes this time - and yet they have already witnessed Rose perform the impossible several times in the past, might the trolls learn from experience and keep quiet about their business?

Why is the troll queen so enamored with human children? She wishes to destroy all humans in the Aagnorak, yet at the same time the evil troll queen wants a captured human to rule the Earth?

The book is written in a series of short short chapters, often just a page or two. Each chapter is from the perspective of a different characters. My other quibble with West is that there are too many viewpoints. We don't need to hear what Rose's mom is thinking, or what Neddy is doing. If the focus had just stayed on Rose, Charles and Estelle, the momentum of the story would have been stronger. Not that the pace is slow, the short chapters make it easy to keep turning the pages. The hardcover edition is 504 pages long, but the reader zips through them quickly.

It seemed to me that the ending of West gave some slights hints of even further adventures (what is the significance Rose holding onto the Queen from the chess board?). The natural expectation is two more volumes: North and South. Rose need not be the primary character, perhaps the next tale (if there is one) could focus on Estelle or Sib. East was published in 2003, and West came out in 2018, fifteen years later. So I guess we should expect to see North or South around 2033, if there is indeed to be a third book?