Scion's Blood is the second book in author Pat Nelson Childs’ Chronicles of Firma trilogy. The books centers on a young man named Rokey, who may or may not become the only thing that will save Firma from the impending return of a dark overlord. Luckily for Firma, Rokey is not alone. He has help from his friends, Lorq and Fia, and from his elvish husband, Flaskamper.
Rokey has spent the past three years in Elfwood, working with the Elf mages to unlock the powers he blindly demonstrated in Orphan's Quest. While his magic skills have improved, the mages have been frustrated in their efforts to bring out his full potential. As Rokey spends more time with the mages, Flaskamper grows more despondent about his role in the Elvish kingdom, and soon a rift begins to grow between the formerly happy couple. This is rift is exploited by their enemies, and soon the new plots against the status quo of Firma are revealed, as well as what the Order of the Bone has in mind for Rokey. With the help of friends and allies, the two must struggle against seemingly insurmountable odds to save both Firma and their marriage.
Along with the characters from the first book, we are introduced to new allies whose talents and knowledge are essential to the heroes’ successes. As each new character and Firmian cultural group is introduced, Childs deftly weaves frames of reference into the story using a combination of exposition and dialogue between the characters, mainly leaning towards the latter. By my count, there are at least four or five different sentient species on Firma, with twice or more as many cultures. Childs doesn’t dwell too much on world-building unless it moves the plot forward. He clearly knows his world inside and out, but does not feel the need for Tolkienesque detailed descriptions.
In fact, after the first eight chapters or so of re-introducing the characters and setting the stage for what is to come, the story moves along at a steady clip, hardly pausing for a breath until the end. And that breath catches in the throat as the final cliffhanger hints at what is to come in the third book. Firma is safe, for now, but Rokey and his companions still have much more to do.
Last fall, I gave the first book, Orphan's Quest, a 3.5 star rating. In the follow-up, Childs has shown improvement in both the writing and character consistencies, which bodes well for the as-yet-unpublished third book.