Student of the Tradition
Title : Student of the Tradition
Author : H.B. Kurtzwilde
Series : The Secret Art of Failure, Bk.2
Publisher : Loose Id (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Science Fiction
Length : 269 pages (e-book)
Published : May 5, 2014
Rating : ★★★★★
Master Kourt Crowe has nothing but love in his heart for Journeyman Kato Giavanni. The differences that should keep them apart have served only to draw them closer. But now pressures within the Fellowship have become a danger not just to them, but to the future of the Fellowship. Worse, Master Crowe is comes to fear there may be nothing in Journeyman Giavanni that can be called true emotion, much less love.
In search of answers for himself and his Fellowship, Master Crowe turns to revered traditions. Yet, the secrets he needs access to have been all but destroyed. He must put his trust in Kato Giavanni and accept his lover’s needs despite the possibility that they may be violating the very traditions they seek to restore. And their relationship may turn them into Renegade Servitors, exactly what they have sworn to destroy.
I think I understand what’s happening! Okay, that’s probably a really naive statement. I know what the characters are talking about. As we were in the first book, we’re still following Kato “Vanni” Giavanni and Kourt Crowe. They are Servitors in the Fellowship and members of the College of Sarafel where Kourt is a Master Telsmancer and Vanni is a Journeyman Sourcerer. Kourt and Vanni are still practicing Chastity as a monogamous couple, despite the fact Kourt has been in a long time convenient relationship with his friend/College brother D’arcy Qyn. Kourt has actually been having lots and lots of sex, with lots and lots of people for a very long time, so a monogamous relationship is quite something special for him. He finds himself in love with Vanni and isn’t sure Vanni is really capable of reciprocating. Sourcerers tend to shut out all emotion. Vanni does get the hang of things fairly quickly. Sort of. He’s able to walk back the bad things he does to Kourt. Unfortunately, Vanni and D’arcy find themselves in a somewhat adversarial position. Vanni is a bit jealous, and D’arcy is a bit dismissive. It doesn’t help that D’arcy is having troubles with his student. The boy is a disaster. As the members of the College convene at Trine Ria University, Vanni finds himself meeting the majority of them for the first time all at once. It’s an interesting experience for all of them. Sarafel, Kourt’s master, finds herself at odds with the College she created. They embark upon creating a functioning College with students. All the children gathered previously will be taught using the methods developed by D’arcy.
Vanni does well for himself at Trine Ria, but finds himself shut out of many of the Universities opportunities as he was once outcast by the College of Kaniel. He creates a bit of a sensation with a symposium on the steps of the school. He creates an even bigger sensation with his demonstration of the Trigger discipline. Kaniel asks Vanni to return. Vanni declines and becomes a Master of the College of Sarafel. He is officially a Fighting Lizard. As he tries to find what he should choose as his Master Work, Vanni finds himself asking the Telsma. He believes they answer he needs to research the Sages. A Sage is a Servitor who is a master of two philosophies. Vanni goes to D’arcy for help and they have somewhat tense conversations. D’arcy’s own student fails to find his way into the Fellowship. His covenant was broken and appears to have been false all along. D’arcy goes off to find the person he believes is responsible. As a result of the possibly false covenant, Kourt feels it’s time to take the younger students of the College for an extended stay in an isolated and easily defensible place. Kourt and Vanni become even more comfortable in their Chastity, and D’arcy finds the man responsible for his disaster with his student. After Kourt, Vanni, and D’arcy successfully Hunt the man down, they learn a lot about a group of people with nefarious plans toward the Fellowship. They also learn more about D’arcy’s involvement in the plan. D’arcy has to come to terms with his failure and Kourt and Vanni have to seek out ways to prevent the failures from happening again.
I’ve failed to mention one of the side characters, Artur Bale, as he wasn’t significant to the plot of this specific book. He’s an interesting and enigmatic character with a somewhat drugged out Hippie kind of vibe going on. I feel Artur is going to become very important. We know, from way back in the first book, that the Sages and Loti have disappeared. This gets restated with some regularity, and is left as sort of loosely dangling plot threads. I think the wording of Vanni’s conversation with the Telsma is very significant. I think Artur’s unexplained and unexplored existence is very significant. I will become frustrated if this isn’t resolved with some alacrity. I also think it’s important we don’t know the specifics of Sarafel’s prophecies. I will not be shocked if she comes to Kourt and Vanni at the end of the final book and mentions this is how she saw it happening all along. I also think I should read this again at the end of the final book and laugh at all my wrong thoughts.
Kourt and Vanni’s relationship changes were monumental. They’ve managed to finally come together in mutually assured desire. Vanni seems to have given up his physical and sexual feelings of unworthiness, but still harbors those feelings toward his scholarship and general usefulness to Kourt and the College as a whole. Kourt simply finds it hard to believe anyone could love him for himself. Both men are a little fragile and are showing that fragility to each other. They are also two halves of a whole. Vanni can understand complex mathematics that show how disciplines, arts, and skills work, but he can’t necessarily make them work. Kourt knows how to make things work even if he doesn’t know why. Kourt has spent his very long life out in the world doing things. Vanni has spent his life in a lab, learning about the nature of things without seeing nature until he was given to Kourt.
I enjoyed the first book in this series despite not knowing what I was reading. This second book I loved and I would heartily recommend this series to anyone who loves science fiction and is willing to read the first half of the first book without really being able to figure out what it going on.
Rated 5 stars by Faye