I decided to read some of the book's by Victoria Strauss and Ann Crispin because I like their Writer Beware Blog. I started off with Victoria's Arm of the Stone, mainly because it had lots of good reviews on Amazon. It's about to get another good review here.
The book is mainly about a guy named Bron. Ages ago, his family owned a magical Stone. Then some guy called Percival stole it (or rescued it depending on who you believe). Then the world split into two worlds, one of Mind (magic) and one of the Hand (technology). Percy took the Stone to the Mind side and founded the Guardians, who are dedicated to preventing the spread of technology, because they believe it to be inimical to Mind power. Over time, they become cruel and corrupt.
Bron's family has passed down an ancient tale which says that they are the rightful owners of the stone and Percy was a nasty villain. The rest of the world believes that Bron's ancestor's were villains and Percy was a hero. Bron's tale also includes a prophecy about a Chosen One who will rescue the stone. Naturally, this being a fantasy novel, it turns out that Bron is the Chosen One.
What I really like about this book is that it's not as straightforward as most of the books with ancient prophecies and chosen ones. Bron doesn't gather a ragtag army. He doesn't lay siege to the Guardian's fortress. He doesn't kill the Guardian's leader. Thank God.
He joins the Guardians and becomes a member of the Arm of the Stone, an elite group that hunts down anyone who dares to improve upon technology. He quickly realizes that his family's tale is a load of crap. He also realizes that the Guardian's story is crap and that technology isn't inherently evil. When the other Guardians find out about they aren't very happy with him, but since he really is the Chosen One, he does fulfill that prophecy.
I really love the way Bron's character develops through the story. I didn't really care for Liliane, the other view point character as much. She doesn't really seem to develop through the story. She starts off as a naive girl who believes that all the cruelties she's put through as a novice are some sort of Test. She ends up as a woman who blindly follows orders and turns the man she loves (Bron) over to the Arm of Stone, even though anyone but an idiot could tell it would bring about her own downfall.
Still, I do think this is a great book. I give it 4.5 yo-yos. Up next, Charles de Lint's From a Whisper to a Scream.