You can have everything you want if you sacrifice everything you believe.
Kihrin D’Mon is a wanted man.
Since he destroyed the Stone of Shackles and set demons free across Quur, he has been on the run from the wrath of an entire empire. His attempt to escape brings him into the path of Janel Theranon, a mysterious Joratese woman who claims to know Kihrin.
Janel’s plea for help pits Kihrin against all manner of dangers: a secret rebellion, a dragon capable of destroying an entire city, and Kihrin’s old enemy, the wizard Relos Var.
Janel believes that Relos Var possesses one of the most powerful artifacts in the world―the Cornerstone called the Name of All Things. And if Janel is right, then there may be nothing in the world that can stop Relos Var from getting what he wants.
And what he wants is Kihrin D’Mon.
The Name of All Things is a sequel that does exactly what a sequel needs to do: take everything good from the first book that’s book and get rid of everything that’s bad. An excellent continuation of A Chorus of Dragons. While the first one was good, it became a little too complex, leading to quite a lot of unnecessary confusion. This book irons that out and continues to present masterful world-building, great characterisation, adding to it a well-paced plot and clarity within that.
Jarring at first, the book follows Kihrin for the intro, but then is told from two new (well, not entirely) POVs: Janel and Brother Qown. The first a Joratese Count and stallion with a demonic curse, superhuman strength, who has tasked herself with killing a dragon. The other a Priest that can use Illumination who has been tasked with keeping Janel safe (the harder task.) They want Kihrin to join them, but not before telling him their tale, up until the current time. Here is where it takes on the format that I loved from the first, two POVs telling the tale back to another, intermixed with clever interludes that take us back to the present.
The plot sees Janel grow her Herd, while trying to work her way through demonic destruction, brigand attacks, Joratese political intrigue, clan warfare, a tournament, the destruction of a barony (in no particular order, I’m just throwing things out there) and all this while trying to get hold of a spear that Thaena says ‘might’ kill the dragon; Janel’s a great well-rounded character and while I loved Kihrin, I don’t miss his POV while she is taking centre-stage. Having superhuman strength is not an end-all ability, and Lyons still displays that Janel has more than one layer to her. The author has a great way of making you care for the characters, their relationships and the human way in which these can go very wrong, even in the thick of a high stakes game, woven at the hands of the despicable Relos Var.
My favourite thing about this book is the depth at which Joratese custom and culture has been thought of and implemented; their view on sex and gender, and how different these are from their neighbours lend to it being incredibly realistic. Jorat mirrors our world in the way of their fluidity with on these subjects. Down to the last detail, this series is obviously crafted with a meticulous love for the genre and it is at these moments that it shines through.
The Name of All Things is an action-packed, face-paced read that has all the world-building, dragons and magic from the first, improving on it and forging a path for the continuation of a great series. At the same time, it focuses on the character level and how very human each one is.