As he investigates, Sir Brannon accumulates allies as well as clues; assembling a varied group of individuals, each with their own special skills and talents. In some ways, Kalanon’s Rising feels a little like the feature-length pilot for a CSI-style procedural showing the team being put together, albeit one set in a fantasy world. I don’t mean to say this is a bad thing; in fact, the author does an admirable job of introducing the half-dozen or so main characters. Admittedly some get a little more page time than others, with Sir Brannon getting the lion’s share, and I would have liked to know more about some of them but I do think the balance was appropriately done.
Each introduction of a new character, and subsequent chapters seen from some of their perspectives, serves a second purpose. Given their varied backgrounds and histories, each adds more and more elements to the world, painting a picture of places and events beyond the immediate scope of the investigation as well as the potential consequences of the murder plot. It gives a slightly more organic feel and was a good means of avoiding infodumps. One thing I really liked about the way the POV chapters were handled, is that each character is introduced in another’s chapter first. This avoids a certain degree of dislocation that I’ve found when a POV begins without any previous context.
The main murder plot is sufficiently convoluted, enough to keep the reader guessing but without becoming confused. Red herrings are suggested and eliminated with a reasonable degree of frequency. Not even some of the main characters are free from suspicion at points, although that tends to fall into the ‘knows more than they’re telling’ category rather than outright culpability. Still, the whole novel moves along at a good pace and it remains a fairly light and easy read.
SPFBO Score: 8.0 out of 10