I recently reviewed The Crystal Gryphon by Andre Norton, and since then I’ve read the other two books in the trilogy, Gryphon in Glory and Gryphon’s Eyrie (co-written with A. C. Crispin). They’re not long, so I thought I’d take them together today.
The trilogy is about Kerovan, who has always considered himself apart from other men due to his questionable magic heritage, showing itself in his amber eyes and his hooves. He was married as a child to Joisan, a strong young woman whose destiny as a noble lady was changed by a war devastating the country. Though they met and fell in love in the first book, there are still problems between them in the books that follow.
Gryphon in Glory begins with the two apart, largely because Kerovan believes Joisan is better off without him. Disagreeing (adamantly), she follows him into the Waste where, separately and apart, they encounter strange creatures and ancient magic. Gryphon’s Eyrie sees them still seeking a place to belong, as well as a true understanding with each other.
There’s so much I love about this trilogy. The world is amazing, with so many layers, so many strange creatures and different cultures. Their land is one with an elaborate, complex past that continues to influence the present. The second and especially the third book get farther away from the war that dominated the first book, leaving more room for other elements of the world to emerge.
I love the characters so much, Joisan especially. She continues to grow and mature and find new strength throughout the trilogy. I love watching her come into her own, finding increased abilities and confidence. She feels like the driving force in the relationship, in a way that works very well. The concept of a woman who refuses to let go of a man who keeps trying to end things sounds awful, but it actually works very well here, without ever compromising Joisan’s strength of will or self-respect.
I love Kerovan’s character as well; he’s so lacking in a sense of self-worth, and while I do want to shake him occasionally, mostly it makes me sympathetic to him. Kerovan goes through extensive character growth too, although for him it tends to be two steps forward, one step back. I might have liked to see his growth move more consistently forward, as at times it felt like we were continuing to tread through the same territory again and again. But in the end it does come to a satisfying conclusion, both in Kerovan’s growth and in the romance, as they find their way to being true partners.
And then of course the writing is beautiful too. It can be a little formal at times, but in a way that’s really lovely. The third book, with its added co-author (A. C. Crispin) made me nervous, but I didn’t observe a significant change to the style—which was a good thing!
With a warning that the character growth takes its time now and then, this trilogy comes highly recommended.
Author’s Site: http://www.andre-norton.org/