Synopsis (SPOILERS for books 1 & 2)
Solian ata’yar. Dauv ata’yar. Nur temen vie’ryn valana.
Live as one. Die as one. For those we’ve lost.
The city of Kingspass burns, and Calen Bryer’s world has been shaken to its core. With Valerys at his side, Calen must battle his demons and push forward. There are people who need him, people who need what he must become, and he will not let them stand alone.
In Loria, Ella struggles to understand the ancient power that flows through her veins. The world is changing around her and she is changing with it. Her journey has only just begun.
Thousands of miles away, beneath the mountains of Lodhar, assassins move in the dark as the kingdoms of the Dwarven Freehold ready themselves for war. Not everything is as it seems. Dahlen Virandr and Belina Louna have no choice but to unravel the mysteries of the mountain before everything crumbles around them.
Meanwhile, in Al’Nasla, Rist Havel learns the true cost of becoming an Imperial Battlemage. He will question every truth he has ever been told. He has never been a fighter, never been the one people look to, but he will fight for those he loves no matter what it takes.
With the Uraks ravaging the towns and villages of the North, Alina and Dayne Ateres prepare their people for war. They have been beneath a Lorian boot for too long. Valtara will be free. The wyvern of House Ateres will fly again, by blade and by blood.
As the continent of Epheria descends into war and chaos, Kallinvar struggles to come to terms with an immense loss. Despite the hole in his heart, he has no choice but to stand and fight. The Shadow is coming, and the Knights of Achyron are the only ones powerful enough to hold back the tide.
Unbeknownst to all, another force is rising – a force long thought tamed.
The Blood Moon is rising.
The balance of power is about to shift, and Epheria will never be the same.
“But that is precisely why we must care with all our hearts, fight for the ones we love, and stand for what we believe in. Because in a world where nothing matters, what matters to us means everything. If we forget about the ones we love, everything loses meaning.”
Middle books in a series are sometimes hard to review because it can be hard to find new things to talk about. I have already talked about how Cahill has fantastic, compelling characters that continue to grow on me throughout this series. I’ve talked about the high stakes battles and tense action sequences that are so well written. I’ve even harped on the interesting and complex worldbuilding. For this review, I am just going to talk about a couple points that really stood out to me.
In Of Blood and Fire we have loads of setup for the plot, world, and characters. Of Darkness and Light was an insanely crazy ride of death and destruction interspersed lightly with some more setup and character building. Of War and Ruin sits comfortably in the middle of that. I always appreciate when authors linger, for just a little while, on the quiet moments that make all the war and bloodshed matter. Laughing with friends around a fire. Subtle moments of love and respect shown. A tender moment of vulnerability. Even the internal struggle of a character coming to terms with their actions. This is Cahill’s best book in terms of making his character feel so very very human and relatable.
“The only thing within our control is what we choose to do with the short time we have – the things we fight for, the people we love, the things we hold dear.”
I also really loved all of the revelations and twists that happened in this one. This third book in the series really made me think. I truly did not know where the story would go next. Who would be loyal? Who would be a betrayer? The author did a great job of making me question who was even in the right when it came to the war being fought. The fact that Cahill was able to make me sympathize with some of those who are the “villains” in this story made it all the more compelling.
The one thing that I would critique is that the pacing sometimes dragged just a little for me. I think that in a 5 book series this is all but inevitable at some point, but especially in a middle book where you are trying to set up the rest of the series to move forward to the climactic ending. In particular, the time spent in Durakdur felt like it went on just a little bit too long and I started to question what relevance it would have to the wider plot going on. I am not saying it won’t as I have a lot of faith in Cahill as an author. I’m also not saying that I didn’t enjoy that part of the story overall. However, it did detract some from my enjoyment of the story so I wanted to mention it.
“Living has its price.”
The last two books in this series promise to be absolutely insane. Cahill used Of War and Ruin to have a solid plot on its own while still setting up the rest of the series and I can’t wait to see what will happen in books 4 and 5. I confidently expect The Bound and the Broken to enter into my top 10, or even top 5 series ever by the time it is finished.
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