It’s been a long while since I’ve been so engrossed in a series like I am with this. Two incredibly different people from two historically-opposing guilds, working together to throw down the major guilds, literally breaking the pillars of the realities they know, in the hopes that they can change the world. This unassuming fantasy adventure was intended to be a straight-to-Audible series, but since then the first three novels have been printed in paperback and eBook. As with any good audiobook, I can vouch for the book being a good read – and a breath of fresh air for the genre that I haven’t felt since the Riyria Revelations series.
Areas in the first volume which I once might have seen as merely lazy writing or plot holes are slowly getting filled in. These areas of ambiguous history and popular mentality amongst the fictional populace do more than serve as sidesteps for the author, as he has begun placing those moments under the microscope. There is much more going on behind the scenes in this story than meets the eye (or ear, if you’re listening to it).
Some of the issues I had with the previous novel, including those pertaining to certain Mage, have been dealt with by the time this story wraps up. That’s not to say that these issues haven’t been replaced by other issues. One of my biggest gripes with this book happens to involve the love shared between our two main protagonists. Sometimes it becomes nauseating, and distracting – on occasion to an eye-rolling degree.
That said, this is the first actual fantasy story I can remember where the two main characters are courting each other whilst adventuring. It’s refreshing, and author Jack Campbell nails it. When they’re not nauseating, and actually when they are, the characters are believable. Despite what the characters are going through, their love never seems forced, or rushed.
This is, by far, a character driven series. I expected that to change with this book, now that the two are together, but that isn’t so. Not much actually happens. You’ll be able to name about 5 major events in this book – and yet it’s so enjoyable. Like the previous novel, The Dragons of Dorcastle, much gets accomplished in the last quarter. But this time we have a far greater grasp on where the story is headed.
And most importantly, we get some much needed answers. We learn more about the history of the Empire, and the Daughter of Jules. We even get some crazy action in a forbidden city. The way the information is being developed, I have a strong suspicion that, due to where these people are from, that has a lot to do with why the world is the way it is. Suppressed information, along with a world that refuses to change, leads to negative progress and turmoil, and eventually to revolution.
If you haven’t given this series a shot yet, grab it now. Click the Audible banner below to start your free trial and get any two free books to listen to.