The second in an action-packed epic fantasy series: In a world with dragon-fueled magic, master con artist Ardor Benn must infiltrate a centuries-old secret organization to find a missing royal heir. Ardor Benn saved civilization from imminent destruction, but his efforts brought war to the kingdom. It is believed that the rightful rulers have all been assassinated. However, a young heir might have survived. An ancient organization known as The Realm is behind the chaos, working from the shadows. Under the anonymity of masks, information is distributed sparingly.
Ard’s been hired to infiltrate them, but he’s got competition from an old friend. One who’s set to prove she’s better than the self-proclaimed “Ruse Artist Extraordinaire.” If Ard can’t find the heir then his world may again approach ruin. Stopping the complete and utter collapse of civilization is quickly becoming Ard’s specialty.
The Shattered Realm of Ardor Benn left me wanting more and more! This book and its blurb does what it says on the tin and it delivers in bucketloads of sheer fantasy awesomeness. There’s a quote from David Daglish, that on the cover of book 3 mentions about a thief getting involved in a small, but powerful heist to then going to save the world. That’s what this series. Let me tell you what it is in a nutshell: A thief that was promised a load of money just to steal a King’s crown now becomes involved in things that are bigger than him! Even bigger! I have to say, credit to Tyler for keeping an account of all the history, the organizations, and the complex religious mechanics that he’s involved. There’s an entire bible of worldbuilding that can be extracted from this.
There weren’t enough pastries! 🙂 I loved that about book 1 and Raek eating pastries was my favorite scene. You do occasionally get to see more of them during the pace of the novel. I am still not convinced that Ardor Benn attracts the right women to him, because you can see that during this part of the novel, he’s an honorable guy. And he needs a new love interest. Not Quarrah. I don’t think their chemistry is going to go anywhere at this point. If Ardor can salvage it. He needs a woman that understands him for what he is. Not what he can be. Big difference. He’s not as bad as others think. He’s a good man. But good men in this world are treated like prey for the cunning and manipulative people that we think aren’t manipulative. The reason I like Ardor is that even though he’s a good man, he’s smart. He may be innocent sometimes, but he knows how to navigate the slippery tentacles of murky politics. It gives me hope that in a grimdark world that we live in already, here’s a Jack Sparrow fella who knows what to do. Regarding Quarrah, she’s back and she’s kicking ass in style. We already see her intelligence working to her credit, as she does many scenes where she’s annoyed by Ardor, and who wouldn’t after the climactic ending of book one, but she’s back. I think we’ll see more of her in book 3. We also get the best new characters in this novel: Gloristar, the Professor and San, and Codley. By the end of this novel, you will feel awesome and yet…you will know what I mean when you get to the ending!
I did find some particular weaknesses concerning worldbuilding. Normally, fantasy novels love to illustrate their history to you. The weaknesses were was that when I found a secret or discovered something, then the worldbuilding would arrive and explain this happened and that happened. For example, a scene in which I won’t give too many spoilers talked about an x incident. That x incident was explained, but it could have been explained in a more precise manner. Religion is a notorious subject in this novel, and I would want the publishers to also add a glossary of all the religions: Wayfarisim for one. Of course, this is just a nitpick of mine. I do feel that some parts of the novel did do slow-pacing, and there were some scenes which in the course of the structure of the novel, were repeated a few times. But this novel is fantastic and I will tell you why. The weaknesses are a trifling compared to the excellent details of this novel. The worldbuilding is on par.
This novel? It’s full of Action, explosions, Professors, Scientists, Mad Kings, Super-secret Illuminati Style organization trying to do XYZ, and religious secrets being discovered. There are ships, glowing people with paint, need I mention an attack on a house? Also, the Realm is the worst organization ever. The worst. They are stupid, inefficient, horrible, and horrendous. That’s pretty much what I give them and their Overseer. Horrible people. Don’t under-estimate Ardor Benn and his partner, Raek! That’s what Kings, Empires, Evil Secret Organisations did, and look where that ended them! This has some of the best fantasy escapades ever seen. Fantastic stuff. Fantastic dialogue, fantasy writing!
You really have to get this book!