Ennek and Miner are finally going home. After a nearly dying at the hands of a maniacal wizard, the duo faces a long journey back to the Praesidium, the home they fled more than a year before. They want to put an end to the slave system and better the lives of all its people, but doing so will be more difficult than either of them can imagine.
Ennek is struggling to manage his magic and to make peace with the lives he has taken in order to save the people he loves. And he’s doing so with a corrupt darkness whispering in his mind, threatening to destroy everything he is trying to build. Miner knows Ennek isn’t himself and he does what he must to protect his lover, all the while trying to find his place as a free man. Their intentions are good, but the world seems stacked against them. Ragged and broken, Miner and Ennek realize they will need the help of solid friends and more than a little luck to save the Praesidium from itself. But if they do, they might just change the world.
Equipoise is the third in the Ennek trilogy and a direct sequel to Stasis and Flux. This series must be read in order to make sense, so be aware. Equipoise picks up after Ennek and Miner have defeated a terrifying wizard, but their elation is short lived as they are confronted by the reality that every action has a consequence.
Much of Equipoise is about Miner and Ennek confronting the choices they have made, good and bad, and reckoning with the outcome. Their journey has been far from easy and it seems as though this final step will be the hardest. Except that it isn’t. When conflict is promised, it fails to materialize in a meaningful way and the final confrontation lacks much oomph. Equipoise ends up being the weakest of its trilogy and while it promises a lot, it never really goes anywhere. The pacing is slow and much of the book is a collection of the mundane – walking here, sailing there, working, and so on. There is some action, but much of it is described as happening off page. And the very real challenges of facing off against the Praesidium and the return of Ennek’s cruel master Thelius are resolved with almost painful easiness. So much of the book felt like filler. Now it’s still well written and for fans of the series it provides much needed resolution. But Equipoise feels almost apathetic about its characters and the tangled loose ends that must be wrapped up. As a result I found myself struggling to remain engaged.
Equipoise serves as the last novel in the Ennek trilogy and unfortunately it fails to end strong. Despite enjoying Miner and Ennek as characters, the pacing drags and the plot never really moves beyond through basic, rote actions. We do get a satisfying resolution for our heroes and I think fans of the series will want to read Equipoise in order to find a sense of completion. And while Equipoise stumbles, the series, as a whole, has been enjoyable journey.
A review copy of this book was provided by DSP Publications.