A year has passed since an unlikely alliance saved the Tressian Republic from fire and darkness, at great cost. Thousands perished, and Viktor Akadra – the Republic’s champion – has disappeared.
While the ruling council struggles to mend old wounds, other factions sense opportunity. The insidious Parliament of Crows schemes in the shadows, while to the east the Hadari Emperor gathers his armies. As turmoil spreads across the Republic, its ripples are felt in the realms of the divine.
War is coming . . . and this time the gods themselves will take sides.
Thank you to Nazia at Orbit Books, Orbit Books, and Orbit Books at Netgalley for providing with me an ARC! All thoughts are mine!
You know the feeling when you feel you’ve accomplished something huge and you have no words to describe it? That’s what I feel. This is an exhaustive, chunking, massive bible so to say. This book is like holding the lore of a new world that you’ve discovered in a library that differs completely from this world. I feel as if I have seen the death of fathers, their betrayals, and their morals becoming compromised. I have seen good men sacrifice themselves for nothing at some point. I felt at the end for Malachi and Kai Saran. Both characters are very similar, both loving their children. But they are compromised by forces that are greater than them. And thus, they get involved in a trap that is sprung by the Gods themselves.
This is as much of a story of the Raven as it is about Jack. Scheming brothers that want to manipulate both sides of this massive world of Tressia that exists. It is an exhaustive compendium written by an author that worked at Games Workshop, and I must applaud Matthew for keeping track of such an enormous world. That is arduous work. Neither are the multiple character sheets, the lore for the world-building, and keeping track of so many characters. This is Raven’s story. I won’t tell you what he is. You’ll figure it out quickly. Malachi’s wife, Lilly, is perhaps a character I felt, without spoiling too much, I needed more from her point of view. Malachi was a very lucky man to have a clever woman at his side because good men rarely prosper until they find someone that understands and protects them. Lilly is very much the essence of this. Sidara, daughter of Malachi and Lilyana, has a powerful role in this book. I won’t say much, but it is fantastic. Ashana, Goddess as she is, it exposes her backstory a lot in this novel which has some very wide-ranging implications. Very wide-ranging ones.
I didn’t see much of Constan’s character in this book, and I would have wanted to see more of him. Something tells me he’ll grow up to be a noble person as his father, but not as naïve either. Jack, as a special person (can’t spoil), was a very odd person. He was a very conflicting character, and I wasn’t too sure about what he got. His motives are, of course, like everyone else to manipulate. In terms of Apara, she matured. There’s an actual sense in this story of maturity. Characters come to confront the fact that their scheming is causing consistent chaos. Kudos on expanding Rosa and Sevaka’s story, although I felt it was a little over the place because there are so many battles in this book one wonders if I’ve stepped into a Total War game and I’m fighting battle after battle to defend my homeland against the relentless Hadari. Although it would make a very good total war modification.
There are many characters, many points of view from all sides. It would be difficult for me to summarise all of them, but it feels like a TV series to be honest with you. Plenty of interesting viewpoints, cinematic battles, and to show that the world is not all good, it’s more morally grey than we can ever imagine. But I would like to see good triumphing for once. I know Matthew in an interview to the Fantasy Hive said he wanted to see his good-natured characters facing consequences for the decisions of their choices. I, however, want to see just for once, that good decision making leads to a good consequence, not a bad one. As you will quickly figure out in this novel, the choices made from the first book unravel quickly in this one. Quickly. It is a vertigo of spiralling from one bad decision to the next, as enemies take sides, the Hadari (As a lovely empire inspired from many real life races, they just love to conquer everyone) and we also deal with the sexism that the Hadari race have and well shown in this sense. I would love to talk more about it, but I don’t want to reveal the plot of this story. It’s huge. And it could be very well adapted for a video game story. I mean Matthew’s worked for Game Workshop and Warhammer 40,000 and let me tell you, that is no easy feat by itself.
Kurkas’s the actual hero of this novel, If you want to understand the events happening, always watch out for him. He’s a real lad, a real homie, a real bro. He’s the good man. I liked him a lot. The Hadari got a lot of characters, new point of views, and I liked their perspective. I’d love to read a standalone novel on the Hadari to be honest with you because they have some epic potential to have a new world, a new way, a new everything I guess. The dialogue and the world-building are excellent. There are so many outstanding pieces of dialogue that you’ll be delighted in wanting to read this.
Although, I confess, how does Lord Trelan (a man that’s finally coming to real maturity) take all of this into account? Lady Melanna, the heir to the throne of the Hadari Empire, also goes through some enormous changes through this novel. The Gods and Goddesses take a bite out of this future that they’re creating and with so many battles…
It rambles my thoughts. This is how good this novel is. Truly, there was legacy, there was fame, there was sadness, there was love, loss, and regret.
And how do I feel at the end of it?
But I know the fates will spin the fates of men’s lives, and Viktor Arkada, the man that in some ways, almost kind of started this conflict….(well, not to mention the whole other cast of characters….) Have some special thing to do. But for Lord Trelan? The dude is fast becoming a real man. He’s fast becoming the man he needs to be. I think generations after he is gone, he will be celebrated and remembered. What was, may come again? There is still hope, and I think book 3’s going to be over 2000 pages! Because the potential for this world, as a graphic novel, as a Netflix series, as a web series, is enormous. Orbit Books better do something about it!
Also, Lord Trelan and Anastacia have to marry. They must. Their chemistry is becoming very romantic. Even if Treland is afraid to admit it and Anastacia may reluctantly admit it..
I want a novel on the Hadari now!
I can’t wait for Book 3!