I really liked Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels Trilogy (and related works). And I recently read Sebastian, the start of another world trilogy, which was pretty good. Pillars of the World starts off another series.
I have to say, I think I found the other stories and worlds more interesting and entertaining than this one. Pillars of the World has three factions: the Wiccan/Witches, the Fae, and the Inquisitors.
The Inquisitors are what you expect, and I don’t think anybody would side with them. Their founder/leader has some serious issues that he has projected into a witch-hunting drive. He doesn’t really want to save any souls or cleanse the world of evil — he just makes up stories about witches doing bad things, gets magistrates to want them killed off so the nobles can swipe the land, and then goes around killing them off, getting his jollies torturing them to boot.
The Fae are not fluffy cute fae (thank the Maker). They are ancient, rigid, humongously arrogant, selfish pricks who have no clue about love and loyalty. The Lord and Lady of the Fae (the Lightbringer and the Huntress) become involved in trying to figure out those pesky little humans because the Shining Roads that connect the magical Fae world of Tir Alainn to the mortal realm are vanishing, and Clan Houses of Fae have become cut off from the rest.
That, and the witch of the story gave the Lightbringer a magical sweet and pledged to be his lover for a month. To be fair, she didn’t mean to (he WAS a horse at the time), and if she tried to throw away the bit of love magic, bad things would have happened. Taking the stupid love magic wasn’t even her idea.
So then follows a series of total misunderstandings and cluelessness about what is going on between the witch, the fae, and the rest of the world. You know how in most books, the good guys figure out the evil plot in a methodical, timely manner, that flows through the story? Well, forget that, here. The Fae have little to go on, and most of it is false information the Inquisitors planted. Even after they figure out why the Shining Roads are vanishing, do they do the intelligent thing? No, they do the selfish Fae thing! Depending on your temperment, you might enjoy these twists and turns, or it might leave you banging your head against the wall.
All in all, it was enjoyable. The ending, though… felt a little like ‘oh, she did that so there could be a rematch in the sequel.’