If you've made it this far through the Chronicles of the Cheysuli, you're bound to like my Literature Analysis of Flight of the Raven. It tells the story of Aidan, eventual heir to the Lion Throne, and sufferer of strange, portentous dreams.
Aidan has a most unusual lir, a raven. As a lir, the raven is most difficult and arrogant to deal with. Combine a difficult lir with dreams that he will be the one to break the chain of Mujhars and fail the prophecy, Aidan has a terrible time dealing with what he believes must be his future.
But the time comes when he must claim his betrothed. He sets out but undergoes many spiritual challenges and visits from various gods. He is given golden links, the same as the ones that shatter in his dreams, with each visit.
As with any Cheysuli so important to the prophecy, he gets a great deal of attention from the Ihlini. They are determined to destroy him and the prophecy, sensing a weak link.
Aidan is a very well developed character. It's an interesting insight into Cheysuli culture and spiritual life not seen so clearly in the other books of the series.
The Song of Homana
The Song of Homana takes up five years after Shapechangers ends. Homana was conquered by neighboring kingdom Solinde, and their allies, the Ihlini. But now it is time for Prince Carillon to return and reclaim his throne. Finn, his Cheysuli liege-man, has remained faithful to him throughout the years of exile.
The challenge of this book is pretty typical of this kind of story. Prince Carillon has to find a way to raise an army to reclaim his throne in a land hostile to his strongest allies, the Cheysuli. The conquerors have continued the purge against the Cheysuli, and many of the people of Homana fear and hate the Cheysuli.
Carillon isn't the nicest of heroes. When he captures the usurper king's daughter, Electra, he tells her that he will kill her father and take her in marriage. She is, of course, defiant, but when he reconquers his kingdom he makes good on his threat. He does treat her with relative kindness, being a fool in lust for her despite knowing that she has been the mistress ("light woman") for Tynstar, the most powerful of the Ihlini sorcerors, who has given her the illusion of youth. She appears much younger than her true age.
Electra is no passive queen. She fools Carillon by claiming that she was given to Tynstar in exchange for his support of her father, and professes relief that Carillon will treat her better. But she, in fact, maintains her connection to Tynstar, betraying Carillon.
This story is pretty good... not my favorite fantasy epic, but not bad. The characters are not all admirable people, even the heroes. However, once I got started on the series I felt the urge to keep going, which says something.