From epic fantasy author Sara Douglass comes Crusader, The sixth book in The Wayfarer Redemption series
For countless millennia the Star Dance and the TimeKeeper Demons have battled their way across the universe, destroying innumerable planets, laying waste to civilizations across the cosmos.
Choosing the land of Tencendor as their last battleground, the demons break through the Star Gate. The Gate destroyed, all magic in the world is gone and the three races of Tencendor are plunged into a vortex of chaos, madness, and death.
Caelum SunSoar, son of the near-immortal Starman Axis and beloved ruler of all the land's peoples, is dead. Leaderless, those not killed outright or driven mad flee to the one place left to them, Sanctuary, a magical place created ages past to shield all who are good from the wrath of the demons.
There is for some one hope left: DragonStar, Axis's other son. Many believe he is the true StarSon, the only being that can save their world. Others are just as convinced that he is in league with the demons and will be their doom. Only DragonStar knows the truth and as he and his companions go forth to do battle he prays that he may convince all that his motives are pure.
What he does not know is that there is a traitor who plans to hand Sanctuary over to the Demons. A betrayer whose actions could force DragonStar to make a sacrifice so bloody and horrific that it could mean the destruction of everything that he holds dear in this life or the next.
And if he fails, he could doom Tecendor to an eternal hell.
Douglass was born in Penola, South Australia. She attended Annesley College, in Wayville, a suburb of Adelaide. She studied for her BA while working as a Registered Nurse, and later completed her PhD in early modern English History. She became a lecturer in medieval history at La Trobe University, Bendigo. While there she completed her first novel, BattleAxe, which launched her as a popular fantasy author in Australia, and later as an international success.
Until the mid-2000s, Douglass hosted a bulletin board on her website, with the aim of encouraging creative thinking and constructive criticism of others' work. She maintained an online blog about the restoration project of her house and garden entitled Notes from Nonsuch in Tasmania.
In 2008, Douglass was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She underwent treatment, but in late 2010 the cancer returned. She died on 27 September 2011, aged 54.
This last installment in the Wayfarer's Redemption series was very weak. The character seemed to be poorly written in comparison to past books. To me, they lost their dynamic natures and became two-dimensional characters that you would expect more out of the villains or side characters, not the main protagonists. For example, Dragonstar comes back to Sanctuary and in the course of a single chapter he, Azure, and Axis are all friends on good terms, despite 40 years of brewing hatred between them. It was rather abrupt, and with no lingering anger or resentment between characters it turned every relationship flat. Also, everyone accepts too easily the death of Caelum, it's necessity, and the revelation that he was not the real Starson. It was almost as if they really didn't care about him. Dragonstar walks in, they ask what happened, he says "That was his destiny", and everyone goes "Good point, I never saw it like that before", and that's the end of it. Hell, after that, almost no one even thinks about it anymore.
Another point that detracted from the story and the series as a whole were the Demons. All through the last two books, the Demons were very cunning, intelligent, and highly malevolently. In this book, they were portrayed as very childish, stupid, and immature. For example, in one instance one of the Demons points with their finger to indicate where their prey is, and while he does so his finger constantly changes back and forth from a finger to a piece of intestine. Queteb gets so mad at one point that his blood literally boils and bursts, exploding his corporal form for a few minutes. They seemed to lose all brain power upon the moment Queteb was resurrected and became easily distracted, easily duped, and easily defeated.
Finally, the greatest let-down was the ending. Seriously? Six novels in the making and that's how it ends? Defeating the Demons with Love seemed far too story bookish to me, not at all what I had expected based off the first five books, especially considering the ending of the first three. The ending to book six was very anti-climatic. It didn't grip me at all in the way Starman did, or even the way that Enchanter did when Axis fought Bornheld.
All in all, for me the book was a general disappointment.
I am free! Over a year ago I embarked on re-reading the two trilogies that comprise The Wayfarer Redemption, and with Crusader I have achived this goal. Sara Douglass no longer has any hold over me! (So, after I finished this book, I discovered that of course Douglass couldn’t resist writing another sequel trilogy, featuring Axis and StarDrifter, along with characters from other novels. I could, therefore, keep going. But I will not, and this review should make hopefully explain why.)
In many ways, Crusader is like one of the Avengers movies. There are a lot of people with powers wandering around, stepping on each other’s toes, and internecine disputes abound. Everyone is out for the most screen time they can wrangle from the screenwriter, not realizing the director’s final cut is going to change everything….
Oh, sorry, did you want an actual summary? Fine.
Set a hot second after the events of
, Crusader throws us into Qeteb’s reign of terror and DragonStar’s utter lack of a plan for dealing with it. Caelum is dead, and pretty much all the good magic is gone, except for the magic that isn’t gone. DragonStar has no allies left, except for the ones he does have. People and entities die, except that they go to heaven and basically that’s the endgame—some kind of Narnia-esque “Tencendor was but a reflection of the true existence” bullshit.
Anyway, this book is the same kind of hot mess that this series is, and honestly if you make it this far I think you deserve some kind of medal.
I want to praise Douglass’ imagination. She can certainly come up with the kinds of creative ideas that make fantasy novels compelling. The subtle touches of science fiction, nods to Earth and other such elements are a nice way of further enhancing what might otherwise feel like a less interesting story. If there’s one thing you can’t accuse this series of, it’s unoriginality. This is a series packed to the brim with original concepts—and that, of course, is the problem.
Douglass’ playground is so filled with toys that, like a child improvising a narrative on that playground, she doesn’t know how to bring it all together. She jumps from character to character, subplot to subplot, all to the detriment of the story’s unity and coherence. What, exactly, am I supposed to care about here? Qeteb and DragonStar’s ultimate grudge match? Axis feeling obsolete? Faraday feeling like she has to sacrifice herself? The fact that random characters with powers keep showing up at just the right time?
Crusader reminds me of Malazan in terms of the cognitive strain this world places on me as the reader. Whereas in Malazan’s case it’s remembering cities’ worth of characters and their story arcs, in this book’s case it’s more about the various moving parts that interfere with one another’s plots. I admire Douglass’ attempt to make her fantasy feel more “realistic.” There’s certainly many fantasy novels that are too straightforward, and I would criticize them for it. Yet in her attempt to make her world more fleshed out, I fear Douglass has gone too far in the other direction. This book is unfulfilling for me because it tries to do too much.
Also (and this is a nitpick but one I can’t shake), it’s just weird that all of this affects the land of Tencendor only, not the entire planet. So all this magic stops at Tencendor’s borders? All these creatures are somehow unique to Tencendor? Even the Gatekeeper lady? This was never explored in earlier books, and the fact that there even are other lands is kind of glossed over except for brief mentions in books 1 and … I think maybe 4. So when Crusader is like, “Yeah, the Corolean Empire is going to be weirded out by what’s happening here,” I was like, “What … this isn’t a global phenomenon?”
This is a flawed ending to a flawed series. With a few exceptions, I felt like each subsequent book brought me diminishing returns. Douglass is an author full of big ideas, but her eagerness to include every big idea in one story results in a cluttered playground with too many characters, too many grudges, too many stories for one book to contain coherently. Crusader isn’t bad, but it also isn’t good.
And the incest and rape stuff continues to be creepy and uncomfortable AF.
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This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
I started reading this series several years ago because my then fiancee adored the original trilogy. I wished I had read all of the books before marrying her, I would have known earlier to run away.
This is a series about incest, rape, and people with a martyr complex. The underlying theme is that people can spontaneously change personality at different points in a story for the sake of the plot, and as a reader you're not supposed to question the changes. I'm just glad that I never personally spent money reading any of them.
Blech. I read it so I'd know what happened, but it was hardly worth it. Over and over I felt like the author created magic that could just happen to do whatever the plot needed. I'd give some examples, but she usually pulled these devices out to resolve some big crisis and to tell you would mean a whole review of spoilers.
Utter rubbish. I'm truly surprised that I didn't throw away this book without finishing it long ago. The only good thing that comes with the ending is now I'm free to start a better series. Fortunately, almost any random series I pick off the shelf qualifies
Disappointing destruction of the characters and world created in the battleaxe trilogy , and douglass' world breaks the key rule of fantasy ; even wild imagination requires a degree of structure and logic and avoidance of deus ex machina
I cannot understand how the latter three books are so much better than the first three. Nothing accounts for it. In any case, this conclusion, while at times—once more—wrapping up with a little TOO much ease, a little TOO much Deus ex Machina (seems to be a Douglass issue), and with *ahem* many of the same character traits and flaws apparent in other characters quite SIMILAR to one another in other series (I am staring without shame at you, Brutus and Axis), I am still nevertheless impressed, and cannot wait until the remaining books in the Dark Glass Mountain series appear so I can conclude my foray into the flawed but lovely world of Sara Douglass. Rest in peace, wonderful woman. You are responsible for so much of who I am today, as a woman and a reader.
And so closes the story of Tencendor, begun in 'BattleAxe' Trilogy and continuing into the Wayfarer Redemption, Sara Douglass managed to fill six books with an epic, twisting tale that introduced and made me care about many different characters and their intertwining lives, all pummeling toward an inevitable show down and an even more inevitable conclusion - I always knew how this story would end (I had the unfortunate privilage of having read the Darkglass Mountain books before these), but I still enjoyed the journey, for the most part.
This final book, Crusader, did not, unfortunately, break the mould of Douglass' previous works and I still struggled through the first half, wishing the characters wouldn't mope around in despair quite so much. Many of the 'heroes' of the previous stories ultimately proved quite emasculated and almost entirely useless which, while highlighting the depths of the demon's power and evilness, did not help for readability.
Faraday, particularly, who had started out so bold and powerful in Sinner, was quickly reduced to a rather lame and fatalistic damsel in distress - something I cannot quite forgive, given Douglass' normally powerful and admirable female characters. Her portrayal of Faraday in this final book was probably what disappointed me the most.
The Wayfarer Trilogy was certainly a sweeping epic, and a satisfying conclusion for those who wished to know 'what happened next' following the events of the BattleAxe Trilogy, but, on its own, it struggled with the number of characters and points of view it was trying to portray. I liked the characters in a blanket sense, but no one really stood out as particularly impressive, except perhaps Gwyndelyr - a relatively minor witch who is so organized and calm in the face of the demons that I couldn't help laughing whenever she turned up.
In the end, I am left somewhat ambivalent. I would definitely recommend the series to anyone who has read BattleAxe (you will get all the references), and if you like the epic 'save the world' style fantasy, then this has all the elements and is very intelligent. However, I will warn that it takes a certain level of effort to get through and the end result may or may not be quite what you were hoping for.
This series was long and at times extremely painful. Many of the characters are completely unlikable, the magic inconsistently powerful and at times just downright silly/nonsensical. On the whole though, some parts of the series were really good and it all ties together (mostly) at the end.
The ending is weird. It's not the happy ending you expect, but it is a happy ending.
I don't think I'd recommend this series to anyone. It's just long and frustrating and when you get to the end it kind of redeems itself but maybe not enough.
The things I really hated about the series: (SPOILERS AHEAD)
Caelum is a total creep who had sex with his sister, knocked her up, killed her, lied about it, and framed his brother for her murder...but he still gets to die a pleasant hero's death, receives a hero's treatment, AND gets the girl (the sister he murdered!) in the end. I think the author tries to pass it off that the sister was really insufferable in life so she deserved it, and she seemed to realize that in death too where suddenly she was a lot nicer, but overall, once you find out the true story behind her murder, the impression is just that her murder was no big deal and no one really cares about.
I also hate hate hate Zenith's story line. The whole thing is a complete waste of text. While she matters in the first book, in the last 2 books it's like Douglass just kept stringing along the character in the crappiest plot line possible because she was stuck with this character who was important enough she couldn't just get rid of her, but wasn't important enough to merit any serious thought on the part of the author what to do with her.
There's other stuff, but those are relatively minor quibbles.
I was a tad irritated that I had to rush to finish this book in one day since it's due back at the library tomorrow.
overall great book. I have loved this series and loved watching the characters develop. I have to say that the original characters though have gotten quite annoying in these latter books. The one character who got on my last nerve is Faraday. She always seems to be whining and so indecisive. In a way can't blame her considering her past.
It was nice to see Dragonstar (drago) finally become acknowledged and accepted for who he was.
The book gets high marks for finishing the 6 book saga. It started so strong and then fizzled in the end. Books 4 and 5 took me forever to read almost swearing me off of reading all together, and finally this book ended it. I won't let that happen again, no more long boring fantasy trash. Sorry to the fans, this was just way to over the top.
I liked these, but not a lot. The ending of the series was just "meh" and I could do without trying to tie in real world / Christianity stuff. Definitely a cool universe with some interesting characters. But that said, I would probably never re-read these.
Crusader is equal parts a satisfying conclusion to The Wayfarer Redemption saga and an utterly baffling letdown.
The framing is thus: Crusader begins right off of the ending of Pilgrim. Caelum is dead, murdered by Qeteb in the Maze. DragonStar has led all of Tencendor's remaining sane denizens to Sanctuary, and has accepted his role as the StarSon; the staff he used to carry has transformed accordingly, into the Lily Sword. Faraday is torn as to whether or not she is willing to love DragonStar and be loved in return. Meanwhile, Isfrael (the child of Faraday and Axis), plots in the shadows to betray the heroes to Qeteb and his Demons.
This setup is extremely intriguing, and it's almost shameful how slowly this book pays off on any of these situations. The first hundred-plus pages of Crusader are painfully boring, while a revelation on the very first page just so happens to essentially tilt every single book in this series on its head--and not in a particularly good or un-jarring way. I will discuss this reveal and its consequences for the story later.
Thankfully, the novel picks up around page 250 or so, and the pacing is roaring from here, barreling the cast toward the end. It is here where it feels like the reader can't go a chapter or two without some major revelation, and it all leads to something fairly uninspired, truth be told. That, too, will be further extrapolated upon in a further paragraph.
From this point forward, I will be discussing some heavy spoilers for The Wayfarer Redemption as a whole, and injecting my own views and perspective into this analysis.
Point One: The America Reveal As I stated earlier, this reveal occurs on page one of Crusader's prologue. We have the words 'New York' and 'Spielbergian' dropped on this selfsame first page. This is problematic for a couple reasons.
The first, and chief among these, is that it absolutely and messily separates the reader from the world that we have set up so far throughout the instalments of this series. We have seen the high fantasy world of Tencendor fleshed out throughout five books, with only the barest hints towards something of a sci-fi influence present in the first two books of the second trilogy. However, to so completely break that illusion and disallow the reader from separating Tencendor from our mundane, human lives, is a brazen choice and (in my humble opinion) a horrible one.
This, in essence, cheapens both Crusader and every Wayfarer Redemption novel preceding it. By inextricably linking Tencendor to real, human existence, you are essentially saying that none of this can be removed from what you, as a normal human being attempting fantastical escapism, are doing right now. This is a bizarre, immersion-shattering choice and I can't understand it even after reading through the rest of the novel and reflecting on this choice.
Point Two: The Garden This point is where a lot of my own personal reading into of the text occurs. I don't know whether or not this was entirely the author's intention, but this was my interpretation of Crusader's ending.
As far as I can surmise, The Garden, The Tree, The Woman, Faraday, and DragonStar fulfill the principal roles of the Biblical Genesis. Considering that the author takes pains to point out to us that The Woman is explicitly referred to as capital-G, singular 'God', and that DragonStar specifically states that The Garden will constitute a 'creation myth' for future generations, I can only conclude that Douglass's implication here is that all of The Wayfarer Redemption was all simply an extended prelude to the Bible.
I don't intrinsically have an issue with this concept. The problem arises when one takes The Wayfarer Redemption's entire saga into account. From my point of view, it seems that Douglass had no inkling that this was where her story was leading until, at the very earliest, Sinner, being the fourth book overall and the first of the second trilogy of novels. Therefore, the attempts to slot these characters into their Biblical roles feels ham-fisted and cobbled, like Douglass scrambled to put them there in the final mile.
The additional umbrage comes when one considers how genuinely trite this concept is, even back when Crusader was first released. It feels like a vague attempt to turn her shlocky 90's high fantasy romp into a high-minded, deeper tale, and when that sense is so prevalent, the idea somewhat falls flat.
Overall, my thoughts can be summed up as being entirely in the middle. There is a part of me that thinks that just stopping with Sinner might be the genuine best move if you enjoyed the first three books. I can say, however, after having finished the whole series, that if you don't enjoy BattleAxe, I simply wouldn't bother going further.
I was struggling to make it through this book, after reading the five previous. I could see at the beginning that they were going to win the battle with their moralistic high ground against the bad demons. I hate it when books start preaching a message about why good people are good and how love wins over all, always blah blah blah. But I was sticking with it ok. Until Raspu turned into a butler, with his own uniform and staff to run. I really started skimming the words when it detailed his two month 'challenge' in bookkeeping and inventory. WTF. No seriously. The book became so STUPID and the whole story just meaningless from then on. Qeteb and DragonStar having cups of tea at the luncheon table? With a white table cloth which Qeteb rips off when he gets mad? I finished the novel, but only because I wouldn't let it defeat me. The writing from this author, as always, is not very sophisticated. Too many describing words and sentences that don't make sense, eg. "...metal-pocked spaceships, but by pure, and utterly hungrily angry, Evil." I mean come on. Utterly-hungrily-angry EVIL. EVILLLLLL. WHERE IS THE EDITOR. This sort of awkwardly worded style is repeated often but I don't have the strength to waste more of my time flicking through the pages again. It irritated me, a lot. The characters felt really flat in this story. I don't like the 'doomed to die and be sacrificed' themes, as well as the shit plot use of rape and incest against characters. In fact, nothing tender or good is really detailed. I found that I was given graphic accounts of violence when they probably weren't needed, details of rape (actually everything gets raped - the women, the men, the land, just line up for the rape Tencendor), but when the characters had an opportunity for tenderness and happiness between them these parts were skipped over. If the author wanted to detail the adult content of gory horrible parts, why then fade to black on the sex scenes - or even on any development of positive romance full stop? None of the characters had a very satisfying arc, especially ones with potential to be interesting like Zenith and WolfStar. They just get eaten and then end up in the dream world at the end, happy days. StarLaughter was an utter waste of time, even the characters in the book agreed. Axis and Azhure kept their sad human forms falling from godhead, although the author seemed to try and revive her beloved annoying Axis three quarters of the way through. Faraday, remaining consistent to her earlier doomed storyline before she was turned into a deer, really surprised me with her new found zest for life in Sinner - yet by this book, she has fallen in love with DragonStar and the old persona of useless simpering (but very beautiful, of course, always beautiful - being BEAUTIFUL just makes you BETTER in this author's books) damsel in distress. I dunno. This book was the end point in this series for me. It kind of turned into fantasy drivel and bored the hell out of me. The first three books - BattleAxe, Enchanter & Starman were ok. I think I gave them three stars. There were some fresh ideas in the first book for these ones, Sinner - but Pilgrim was way too long at 700+ pages and the story meandered and finally lost its course in Crusader. Seeya to the Wayfarer Redemption from me.
Crusader is the sixth book in The Wayfarer Redemption series by Sara Douglass. When this book was released back in in mid 1990’s, when I first read it, it was originally called Battleaxe and was book one of the Axis Trilogy- the series later got expanded and so the name change. Part of my 2019 reading challenge was to read an Australian author- well how do I narrow that down, there are so many great Aussie authors, but Ms. Douglass was one of the first Aussie authors whose work I fell in love with. I have devoured everything she had ever written and was devastated when she lost her battle with cancer back in 2011. Her books really stuck with me over time, and I don’t revisit them as often as I’d like. The last few months have been emotionally draining for me, and I really wanted/needed to lose myself in another world- so I chose to revisit some old favourites that have a comforting nostalgia associated with them. I couldn’t choose just one of her books, they are all great, and quite a few of them are interconnected- so I chose to read them all. I still love The Wayfarer Redemption series as much as I did the first time I read it. It is an epic fantasy interwoven with prophecy, demons, evil Baddies, adventure, action, drama, a bit of a love triangle, good vs evil, magic, mystery, and so much more. Ms. Douglass weaves her stories quite masterfully, crafting a truly believable and sumptuous world in which to set her story. Her attention to detail brings her world and stories to life- with its own culture, history, language, religion, folklore, magic, laws, tensions, and communities. So cleverly done that I feel like I have ‘been’ there before. The Wayfarer Redemption series books are: -The Wayfarer Redemption (Book One) -Enchanter (Book Two) -Starman (Book Three) -Sinner (Book Four) -Pilgrim (Book Five) -Crusader (Book #6) If you like epic fantasy, adventures in new worlds, plenty of action, good vs evil, some violence, wonderful character, and interesting stories- then this book series is definitely one you will want to read!
This book was absolutely terrible. It's a rare case when I have nothing good I can find to say about a book, but here we are. . . I was so disappointed. Understand that I absolutely loved the first part of this series - the first trilogy/3 books. I was then so excited to learn there was another trilogy/second part to this series. Then the author took everything I enjoyed, including the potential bits of promise in terms of interesting characters and plots in the second part, and just ruined it bit by bit. Not just in terms of plots, but in relation to characters as well. By this book, it was the worst though. A culmination of everything terrible. When I saw where it was going as far as story and plot I just gave up; stopped with like 20-30 pages to spare or something. I just couldn't take it anymore how much this second part turned the series to trash. If I honestly didn't love the art of these books so much I'd get rid of the copies I own of the second half of this series. Anyways, after this happened I vowed never to read another book by this author again, and reviews of other books by them reassure me that it was the smart choice.
Reading this book, somehow my mood worsened by each chapter I've read. Then the unecessary, super silly 'Roxiah' thing really killed my patience for good. For some times I felt like Douglass didn't really know where to bring around so many characters with their own tangled fate. Their character just become more and more undecided, instead of stronger. True, the ending was meant to be grand, but instead felt like petty and weak. The last fate of the demons, for example. Will stop reading this author for a while. True, she got flair on writing dramatic scenes, but many times it got so cloying I could hardly bear against rolling my eyes. Those drama would be good if supported by strong story, but when the backbone of the story straying, all that's left was the cloying drama, which I don't care about.
Whew!!! What a ride! Omg... I am part wondrously ecstatic that I have finished the series. The other part of me is sad that it's finally over.
This book is crazy and makes you feel as if you've completely lost your mind and there is no sense of direction. If you think you know what's going to happen, the author totally pulls the rug from under you time and time again until you give up and just sit on your ass and can't do anything but let the story play out, pulling you every which way.
Omg. I need a cuppa. This ride was a bit much, but I enjoyed every page!
What a disappointing end to a series that started off so strongly. I read it to see what happened, but there were so many flat characters, so many forced plot points, and a frankly obscene amount of violence, gore, and worse that it was sometimes nauseating to get through. Even characters that I grew to love and admire for their complexity totally dropped the ball and became vapid and one-dimensional. I mean, basically all of them. The first trilogy is fantastic, but do yourself a favor and stop there. How sad.
After originally starting this series (Battle Axe) back in high school (more than 10 years ago), I can say I was extremely caught off guard with the progression of the second trilogy, especially with the ending of this book. Almost has a 'Lost'-esque type ending. I'm curious if the ending will be explained more in the stand alone novels and third trilogy. Just have to wait and see. Still love this series, my fave fantasy series of all time.
I don't like how the author ended her series. You can feel that the author just doesn't care about half of the characters anymore. I want to think that it was me losing touch with the fantasy but no. The characters are just thrown here and there and the illusion of our greatest hero was thrown in the mud and we were faced with poor choices and a greed that didn't make sense. It also ended with a hint at more story to be told.
Well now I know what happened to Faraday and I guess that's all I wanted from this one. I'm glad I finished it but it's a rather graphic and gruesome book. Also lots of harm and bad things happen to women, pregnant woman, and their fetuses. Like my goodness why? Anyway, Faraday gets a mostly happy ending and that's all that matters.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Wrapping up from the first five books, does that make this a sextology? Maybe better stick with a sextet ;) There seems to be plenty of action in this book, but sometimes point-of-view changes are so rapid, they serve to remind that we are tying loose ends into a whole. It gets in the way a bit.