Bellarius, saved from utter destruction, is now plunged into vicious civil war. Amra has vanished, and while Holgren has a plan to find her and bring her back, his plan teeters between impossibility and insanity. Before he can even implement it, Holgren will have to deal with three separate armies vying for control of Bellaria, all of which view him as either a threat, an inconvenience, or a potential tool. Meanwhile, Holgren seeks to trap one of the monstrous rift-spawn — abominations born of the Telemarch’s madness and power — and bend it to his will. Then, he intends to descend into the eleven hells to steal an ancient artifact of incredible power from the dire halls of the Black Library. Oh, the things we do for love.
“You can’t just leave a dead body outside the door, magus!”
I have such a fondness for this series. Its two main protagonists Amra and Holgren are some of my favorite characters in all of fiction. Going into this book I was both excited and somewhat anxious because of the switch to a single, Holgren POV instead of Amra like the last three books. Thankfully, I had nothing to fear.
Although Holgren’s POV was hard to get used to at first, once I got used to it I really started to enjoy this story. Throughout the events of this book we get a lot of character development for Holgren that we were unable to get in previous books because Amra was the only POV. I really enjoyed getting to know more about Holgren and being able to see the world through his eyes.
The plot felt somewhat unfocused at first, but after a little while it really started to get going. This story takes place mostly in the cities of Bellarius and Lucernis. Bellarius had such a bleak feel and was so disturbing that I felt a tangible sense of relief when Holgren left it behind. Like our main characters I am in love with the city of Lucernis, Amra and Holgren’s home. Michael McClung knows how to create specific atmospheres for the settings in his book and Lucernis is no exception. Another place that we get to learn more about is the Eleven Hells that exist in this world. It was pretty cool to walk through this world and I wish there would have been more time spent there.
“Perhaps that spoke of a regrettable lack of empathy on my part, that I could explode flesh, but not re-knit it. Or perhaps it simply reflected the truth that it is easier by far to harm than to heal.”
Holgren is on a search throughout this story. I can’t get into it too much because of spoilers, but I can say that it was easy to feel for Holgren. He is dogged and determined in pursuit of his goal and may the gods have mercy on anyone who stands in his way. Holgren is merciless and brutal at times and I have to say I did not expect to see this side of Holgren. In the previous books he was much more gentle and kind. However, as the story progress it makes more and more sense as to why he is acting the way he is.
I enjoyed this story. This was another solid entry in the Amra Thetys series and I am looking forward to reading the 5th book.