Harbinger is a bit of a tonal shift from the The Fallen. Where The Fallen had a split feel between Chavali’s life with her clan and then after her death as one of the Fallen, Harbinger is almost entirely concerned with a single mission she’s sent on on behalf of her former masters.
We still have hints of Chivali’s former life. How she uses her powers; occasional sad memories of all she’s lost. But for the most part, she seems to be fitting into her role as something like a spy, running missions for the masters of the Fallen. It works, although I was hoping for a bit more even about the clan she’d lost, perhaps rebuilding it, and why it happened to them in the first place. We get a few answers, but really more questions than ever.
Worldbuildwise, Harbiner takes what we knew and expands on it, with a few more variants on magic (straight up mages, drowned zombies–more-or-less, and a hyper intelligent horse). Once again, we had the barest comments on Elves, without it really mattering to the world at all. If it’s not going to matter to your world that there are Elves and Dwarves, then why are they there? Make something new and different (like mages and mind readers and watery undead, plenty of that to go around!).
On top of that, I’m becoming increasingly curious what exactly is the backstory with Chivali’s feather and what it actually does/means. It’s weird and cool… and I want to explore that part of the world.
“What’s with the feather?”
Frankly, it surprised her that it took him this long to say something about the pink feather grafted into her forehead and surrounded by a floral tattoo. People frequently stared at it while speaking to her, and given more than a few minutes of exposure, nearly everyone said something about it, either as a question or a comment. He lasted a few hours.
“I am eccentric.”
Overall, it’s a neat world and solid enough writing to keep me thoroughly intrigued. I want to see what happens next!