Cedain continues to collapse.
Ashmount’s destruction shatters the Magicai while the culprits responsible continue sabotaging the world. All the while, the next season of Buzzard’s Bowl begins and Edelbrock, in his constant fight for survival, desires a vengeance he can only find in the arena.
Seradal and Villic find themselves in the middle of a war between Remeria and the Camel Clans, and may end up on opposing sides, while the threat of Calrym looms over all of them.
At the behest of the woman he loves, Demri finds himself thrown into the Elkavich, a not-so-secret order of Magicai who are intent upon fixing the world.
Ashen, a former urchin rescued by a noble with selfish aspirations, works to dismantle the nobility of Calrym.
Death is assured to all who walk the world, the only unknown is when they will perish.
Buzzard’s Bowl is a novel of growth, not just for characters, but for the author John Paladino. No shade at The Trials of Ashmount but with BB Paladino really steps his game up.
Following the rather explosive ending of TToA, we meet the survivors dealing with the aftermath as well as a few new characters. Far from a slow burn, Paladino hits the ground running and never trips or slows down.
With a series like this, discussing sequels becomes much more difficult while avoiding spoilers so I’ll keep things as vague as possible. Don’t take the subjectively short review for a lack of enthusiasm, I would just hate to spoil one page of this bloody epic.
All of your favorite characters return (who survived anyway) and the stakes are raised even higher. Fighting for freedom is a common theme through all the various story lines although everyone’s struggle is unique and exciting. Characters start coming together and different plots begin to merge, giving us a shape of things to come.
The world gets expanded upon in very interesting and surprising ways, both through world-building and character development. The action scenes are top-notch, thrilling, blood-soaked, easy to follow and often jaw dropping in their consequences. John Palladino isn’t one to craft action scenes with no stakes or consequences, every battle/fight makes an impact on either the reader, the characters involved or, more often, both.
Palladino’s prose has leveled up on this one, finding the beauty in tragedy and vice versa. The dialogue is as quippy as ever, frequently hilarious and always organic. Once again, Palladino has matched Joe Abercrombie’s ability to write a character’s voice so distinctly that you can tell who’s talking without any dialogue tags.
Buzzard’s Bowl is an incredible continuation of The Tragedy of Cedain and this series is shaping up to be a favorite of mine. John Palladino has yet to disappoint, delivering two solid grimdark novels that are perfect for fans of the obvious, Martin and Abercrombie, but also Sebastien de Castell’s Greatcoats series, infusing humor with the dark seamlessly. I will continue to champion this series, at least until Palladino kills me off.