The third installment of Danann’s Order of the Black Swan picks up sometime after the events of book two. Elora and Ram are awaiting the arrival of their child and renovating their dream home, Storm and Litha are happily hosting guests in their fabulous bed and breakfast while occasionally traversing the dimensions, and Kay and Katrina are enjoying their marriage. All are enjoying retirement of the entire B Team.
Istvan Baka, newly human, is still determined to cure the vampire population. An ill-advised excursion into the Underground leads Baka to someone unexpected and into immense danger, and only Heaven, his snotty assistant, seems to be worried about him. When none of the higher-ups take her concerns seriously, she turns to Aelsong, Ram’s sister, the psychic, for help. When the ladies enlist the help of the Order’s newest recruit, they discover that Heaven has a deeper connection to Baka than anyone could have thought.
Meanwhile, Elora spends her time exploring the woods around Ram’s cabin and makes some unexpected friends. However, a danger none of the knights had counted on comes closer. The people responsible for the death of Elora’s entire family have found a way to cross dimensions and are out to finish the job.
A Summoner’s Tale is definitely Istvan Baka’s story. Unfortunately this installment just misses its mark. I was waiting for Baka’s story since the beginning, but the way it played out here left me wanting. I think the main problem is that A Summoner’s Tale is very heavy on exposition. For the most part, the action is centered around Ram and Elora, and the quiet reflective moments are all related to Baka’s history, so the narrative feels unbalanced.
Baka and Heaven’s relationship is also the least-developed of all the knights so far; I think developing that relationship would have served the story far better than the time spent with the interdimensional assassins.
The blend of paranormal romance and science fiction in this series has not really bothered me until A Summoner’s Tale. I freely admit that I am not as fond of the storyline because it is centered on Elora, a character I personally just never identified with. Even here, she just has too many Mary Sue-ish qualities for me to really enjoy her as a character. I think the blending of the genres is just a bit awkward so this particular installment feels the most disjointed.
Of course, any scenes with Storm, Kay, Aelsong, the many other familiar characters and a few news ones are extremely fun. Danann has created such a rich cast of characters that you can really become invested in them, which I think is one of the best aspects of all of her Black Swan books so far.
Having said all that, this is still one of the most enjoyable series on the market. The way the vampire story is unfolding, all of the different species of characters, the idea of the different dimensions, the Order and its mission, are all things we have seen before, but they are done in such a new and imaginative way. While this is not my favorite installment it is still an important part of an overall excellent series.
- Paperback: 430 pages
- Publisher: 7th House (February 12, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 193332080X
- ISBN-13: 978-1933320809