What if you were imprisoned for all eternity?
In the aftermath of the Ritual of Night, everything has changed.
The Eight Immortals have catastrophically failed to stop Kihrin’s enemies, who are moving forward with their plans to free Vol Karoth, the King of Demons. Kihrin has his own ideas about how to fight back, but even if he’s willing to sacrifice everything for victory, the cost may prove too high for his allies.
Now they face a choice: can they save the world while saving Kihrin, too? Or will they be forced to watch as he becomes the very evil they have all sworn to destroy.
First, I’d like to thank Black Crow PR and Tor UK for providing the ARC.
The only way I can compare the House of Always to media I’ve read before is the Hateful 8 meets Harrow the Ninth-style chronology … which is to say the timeline is mixed up and everyone is in the same room – that being the Lighthouse Shadrag Gor.
I really do applaud Lyon’s world-building, through the series the complexity and the way in which it has been conveyed has been fantastic. From food to new culture, to sprawling character history that span rebirths, it’s fantastic. But in this one, I was overwhelmed. Each character, we now know, has been rebirthed, some of them are just themselves but living dead, others of them are key figures from history as well as themselves, and they also know this history, remember their memories and reference it. And despite it being so cleverly done, I couldn’t get a handle on it, not so long after I’d read the first three books. Couple this with a very large POV book … larger than we’ve seen before, and perhaps the largest amount of POVs I’ve seen in one book, and that characters remember their own past memories, thrown at the group in sporadic flashbacks that pick up on these stories, it got too complex. I may be that I come back to this book with fresh eyes on a reread, but for now it was a struggle for me to keep up and at the same time enjoy the plot – this is entirely my own preference and probably my own numb brain recently.
What I did thoroughly enjoy, was the format of the plot itself ever. It revolves around a singular building – Shadrach Gor, the Lighthouse. And within this, we have our favourite characters Taraeth, Janel, Thurvishar to name a few, and while they’ve been taken there by Senera, Vol Karoth’s physical body is escaping into the Lighthouse so they can’t leave. Due to the vastly different flows of time, if they leave, Vol Karoth will escape. Which also means no help is coming. I like the imminent danger this represents, also the helplessness. It means they’ve got to sort through through together or perish, and there’s quite a few people there with ‘differences’ so it makes for some intriguing confrontations… especially on the point on Qown’s memories and his being there, and Talon to boot.
Overall, if you’ve stuck with the series and have a better mind for dealing with a vast, vast amount of POVs and flashback arcs, I’m sure you’ll get on with it. It is with great sadness that I didn’t quite love this book like I have the last three – to invest so much time in a series I never want to write anything other than a gleaming review for it, but every book is its own experience and sometimes that experience changes for a reader. I will, however, be reading the conclusion to the series when it’s out, so all is not lost.