Book Critique – Deep Water (Castings Trilogy #2)

For review of all books in the series: Go here.

Stars: 4 / 5

Recommendation: Well-written with a balance between ongoing tale and the parallel stories of other characters without missing a step. Keeping readers intrigued to keep going on, keeping the mystique and reality just in equal parts for any kind of reader to enjoy.

Deep Water is the second book in The Castings Trilogy by Pamela Freeman first published in November of 2008. The story continues with Bramble and Ash who reached the Well of Secrets,, while Saker is succeeding in his plan of revenge and the warlord Thegan trying to bring the world back to where he wants. 

A thousand years ago Eleven Domains were invaded and the inhabitants forced to go on road as travellers, and welcome no where. Now these Eleven Domains are rules by the Warlords.

However, larger elements like fire, earth, water and air, that the Warlords cannot control play their part, perhaps may become the end of the Warlords era. Some involved are sprites, fairies, and some are just human. This series covers their stories and how they impact the Warlords rulings.

Bramble, the Kill Reborn; Ash, a safeguarder; and Martine, a stonecaster; all reach the Well of Secrets in Oakmere, in Last Domain at the same time although from different directions and for different reasons. The story begins from there in this book leading the readers from Well of Secrets to starting of a battle of dominance and revenge.

The confusion of life and death continues for one protagonist while the other one is still figuring out what is their purpose and use in the world; and the third one turned into an antagonist still raged with the injustice and slaughter from the past, a 1000 years past.

Freeman takes this journey into more supernatural and fantasy world than the first one. One not only gets to see spirits, but also experience their lives. Yet, she also gives the hard life for Travellers, the cruelty of warlords and their men, and above all she shows that women were treated less than their animals in many places, more like an object than a person. She also shows how much women work while men raid the domains or simply enjoy the women's labor. Surprisingly women take it in stride. Sadly there are places in this world where things havent changed much for women even in this very modern world.

It always amazes me when one kingdom moves on to another kingdom because they have problems in their kingdom and cannot handle it. But instead of living peacefully with the other kingdom, they try to attack them, steal from them and make those inhabitants desolate and orphans and thrown out of their own world. 

On the flip side Freeman also shows that how one kingdom takes advantage of another land's people who came to their land for help; how they betray the immigrants; how their women and children abused; and in the end hunted till death. Wouldn’t it be easy to meld the cultures and live in harmony rather than creating a hate that would go one for centuries? 

One thing has been constant through centuries in real and fiction though. There are always men and women who fight for the absolute rights; for equality; for women; for children; for the defenseless; and for humanity in general. 

I always wondered many times about a few facts of the history and mythology that are read in schools or novelized and filmized from my birth country; if the story was being told correctly; was it being just told from one side of the coin; what does it look like from the other side. Freeman gives the readers perspective of history of domains from two different angles thus leaving the protagonists to decide which way they need to weigh; or carve a new path. I liked what she did even though she had used it through fantasy and paranormal elements. 

Freeman again veers off from the primary characters, giving more meat to some of the supporting ones, and tying their tales to the primary tales expertly. Most of her plot is written in the usual manner, however some of her off-shoot chapters continue to be written in first person narration. 

The three main protagonists that she portrays in the first book, change to three protagonists and one antagonist. Each have their own reason to go against the antagonist and against the warlords ruling. However in the end Freeman brings their purposes together.

In the fantasy world that we are taken around, some of the customs or traditions sound so weird, but could have been practiced at some point of time on this earth - for instance Traveller women having ritual with the Fire God while the Traveller men having a ritual with the Deep, a the Dancing River.

Well-written with a balance between ongoing tale and the parallel stories of other characters without missing a step. Keeping readers intrigued to keep going on, even if the reader doesn’t believe in myths, spirits and hearing gods everywhere. She keeps the mystique and reality just in equal parts for any kind of reader to enjoy.

Looking forward to read the final book in the series. 

Spoiler Alerts:

1. Plot reveals:

a. We read that Osyth, Gorham's wife dies. But in this we see that their daughter Zel murders in defense when Osyth tries to kill her brother Flax. 

b. Finally Ash realizes his purpose. He has ability to become a stonecaster apart from making ghosts talk. The River aka Deep selects him for her next lover.

c. Lady Sorn talks about griddle cakes with strawberries for dessert in one of the chapters. I was curious to see what are griddle cakes and came across a simple recipe that I am going to try soon.

d. Leof and Lady Sorn have sparks flying between each other, dangerous for both of them. 

e. In the first book, we saw that an enchanter had placed a curse on Acton before she jumped from the cliff when Acton had invaded Turvite and taken over. In this book it is revealed to be a woman named Tern and her story is told briefly. 

f. Last Domain's Warlord Arvid shows keen interest in Martine, the stonecaster; and the feelings are mutual although Martine doesn’t act on them yet. 

2. Sub-Plots:

a. The Eleven Domains are:

i. Far South Domain

ii. South Domain - ruled by the Warlord Ceouf with his fort at Thornhill; Beck is second-in-command; 

iii. Three Rivers Domain - Otter, the stonecaster; 

iv. Central Domain - ruled by Warlord Thegan, married to Lady Sorn. His people - Lefric "Leof"; Horst, the archer; Sully; Sig, the Sergeant; Faina, Lady Sorn's personal maid, and her lover Alston; Hodge; Bandy, Leof's groom; Affo, the chief blacksmith; Ael, the cook; Wil; Sirin, a merchant; Gard; 

v. Western Mountains Domain

vi. North Domain

vii. Lake Domain

viii. Far North Domain

ix. Cliff Domain - ruled by one of Thegan's sons, Gabra.

x. Northern Mountains Domain

xi. Last Domain - ruled by Arvid. His people - Apple & her son Snow; Holly, a guard; Almond, Arvid's ,mother; Skua; Fox; 

b. The Domains are bordered by:

i. Ice King's Country in the North West

ii. Foreverfroze in the North East

iii. Death Pass in the West

iv. Wind Cities in the South West

c. Bramble's family - mother, father, grandfather. Her sister Maryrose & her husband Merrick are killed in this book. 

d. Ash's family - mother Swallow, father Rowan; Cypress, the drummer; all Travellers on Road. 

e. Acton was the first war leader who had waged wars against the inhabitants before the world was divided into eleven domains. His parents were mother Asa; father; Uncle Gris (father's brother) & his two sons Tal & Garlock; Harlad, mother's father and their chieftain; 

f. Safred, well of secrets, is daughter of a warlord, Masil, & Perian, Cael's sister. Which domain was Masil warlord of is unclear. 

g. More of Acton's people - Ragni; Elric Elricsson & his son Baluch; Gret; Marte; Asgarn; Eddil; Oddi; Wili; Red; 

h. Lake People - Eel; Salamander; Steersman; Listener; Vi; 

i. Villagers from Oakmere - Well of Secrets aka Safred; Cael, Safred's uncle; Mullet; Little Vole; Heron; 

j. Other people Ash, Bramble & others meet: Twins Ber & Eldwin, Ber & their mother Aldith their mother; Gorham's kids Hazel "Zel" & Flax; Elva, Martine's god daughter, her husband Mabry & an infant boy named Ash; Gytha & Drema, Mabry's sisters; The Hunter; Auroch, the stonemaker, his wife Cricket & their daughter Grass; Piper & her daughter Searose; Snapper; Crab; Vine; Skink; Snake; Sami, the mine boss; Medric; Fursey; 

3. Grammatical / Factual / Location / Historical / Character Errors:

a. On Pg. 9, Line 17, it should be "…listening and watching…"

b. On Pg. 147, Freeman has Ash planning to ride far east into Far North Domain and swing around to come the Baluchston. But on Pg. 171, she has Ash going towards the pass into the North Domain, which could not be possible geographically according to the map in the book. 

c. On Pg. 167, Line 8, shouldn’t it be "…could cadge some of the…"

d. The Drummer that accompanies Ash's parents on The Road was named Cypress in the first book, Blood Ties. They still had him when Saker was Travelled along with them for months. However, in this book when Saker reminisces about his time with Ash's parents, he names the drummer as Cedar. There was no between the to incidents does Freeman show that Ash's parents had changed their drummer. 

e. In the appendix section, Freeman has a few pages with the topic "why I hate the olden times". He first paragraph is repeated in he second paragraph too.


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