At the end of my review of The Devil’s Concubine I wrote “it would be nice to think that the sequels will be about something other than her approach-avoidance dance with the guy, but experience has taught me to be pessimistic in such matters.”
To my pleased surprise, my pessimism was not fulfilled. In The Devil Incarnate (Jill Braden; Wayzgoose Press), the romance element is almost disappeared; this book really is about QuiTai’s struggle against the Thampurians rather than her sex life.
The Devil is dead. Qui Tai and Kyam Zul have split up. But there’s no rest for Qui Tai, as the scheming head of the House of Zul (Kyam Zul’s grandfather) seems bent on driving the Ponongese into a revolt that can only fail. It seems to be up to her to stop this from happening…and what is the old man really after?
Not only does the form of this book shift away from romance, it shifts towards SF. The one supernatural element in the setting transforms into something else in a revelation that destroys one of Qui Tai’s few certainties.
The setting continues to develop in interesting ways, and the author’s dexterity with prose and facility at scene-setting are undiminished.
This is clearly the middle book in a trilogy or longer sequence. But it leaves me anticipating its sequel with more interest than the first one did.