A Fool’s Hope (The Last War #2) by Mike Shackle

Rating: 10/10


War takes everything.

From Tinnstra, it took her family and thrust her into a conflict she wanted only to avoid. Now her queen’s sole protector, she must give everything she has left to keep Zorique safe.

It has taken just as much from Jia’s revolutionaries. Dren and Jax – battered, tortured, once enemies themselves – now must hold strong against their bruised invaders, the Egril.

For the enemy intends to wipe Jia from the map. They may have lost a battle, but they are coming back. And if Tinnstra and her allies hope to survive, Jia’s heroes will need to be ready when they do.

The sequel to the darkly fantastic WE ARE THE DEAD: with more unflinching action, A FOOL’S HOPE sees Jia’s revolutionaries dig in their heels as they learn that wars aren’t won in a day.


A Fool’s Hope is a resounding success and tops what was created on the base foundation of We are the Dead. It surpasses We are the Dead, and I am pleasantly pleased to see more hope and less grimdark! Wars, intrigues, plots surround character arcs like a never-ending destiny of fate that spins the fates of women and men’s lives. Many characters evolve during the seeming mass of bloodshed and conflict in this novel. There is so much I’d wish to say but in a nutshell without spoiling: There is a clever use of traveling through magic. That’s the only clue I’ll give. It’ll be a wonderful surprise when you discover it later on.

That said, the quality of battles and the determination of soldiers fighting for what is right, and what is wrong, is a very good way to illustrate the brutality of war. Many things I felt sympathetic for Mateon, who I think was a boy snatched from his youth and thrust into a war that he doesn’t belong in. This was reminiscent of WWII on many sides, and then was the Children’s Crusade for example which failed. Now Mateon isn’t a child, but it reminds you that war, however noble and glorious it is depicted as always brings sadness and pain. Other cultures don’t see it that way, however. It all depends really.

Yas was a really good example of a character that does bad, can eventually morph into entirely something else. Of course, protective of Little Ro, the cute son. Ro will grow up to be a very strong man and he will defend his mother. I want Ro to spoil his mother when he’s a grown man and become wealthy. Yas’s character arc will make her, one day, the most powerful woman in all the lands of Jia. Her mother? Undecided on this character arc so much.

Poor Dren. The lad has gone through much but will face a harder journey. That’s as much as I can say. Also, the dialogue in this novel has improved to such an extent, that I felt as if I was with every character. Not just normal dialogue that’s usually in other fantasy novels of the 80s, but the scenes between Jax and a certain…character. Everything was making sense. And I loved Wex. I really want more of Wex in book 3. And Asagod? The guy that kinda did start this all and Tinnistra? Oh my, there’s going to be a big rush in this novel. Also, Zorique is a good character, but she needs more time to evolve. And Francis was horrible. I do hope the Ergil do get a nice kicking as the Jian fight against them!

Overall, impressive worldbuilding, great dialogue, heart-wrenching scenes, and more SHIP COMBAT! I wanted to see more of Captain Ralais! He was so good! There are many characters, many more scenes that will take some days. I loved every moment of it! Really awesome stuff. Can’t wait for book 3!

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