Dorilian is blood bound to the Rill, a quasi-living artifact that spans continents and empowers a privileged few to reap the riches of an entire civilization. The problem is, decades after seizing control of the remaining god-machines, those privileged few aren’t willing to give up their power—even if that means imprisoning and destroying the human bloodline to which the Rill is tethered.
To reawaken the Rill and save their world, its ruler Marc Frederick must find a way to win over Dorilian Sordaneon, the last scion of the divine house that once controlled the Rill. Unfortunately, Dorilian hates him. And his family. And… everything.
The world of Sordaneon is mired in politics. Some factions are vying to extend their power, others to hold on to it, and still others are merely seeking a means of revenge for past wrongs. But there are rules in place guiding the actions of even the king—and highborn like Dorilian are exceptions to many of them.
There is so much depth to this story. There is history, legends, the god-machines, people of varying ancestry, and a vast number of characters. There are societal expectations, the aforementioned politics, and the strange gifts many highborn possess. This book felt immersive from the beginning, and only became more so as the story continued.
Dorilian is angry and vengeful for much of the story, but I loved a few things about him. The first was his connection to his brother, Levyathan. Lev sees the world in a vastly different way than anyone else and struggles with speech, locomotion, and societal expectations. When Dorilian is with him, he shows a markedly different side of himself. Their bond is something very special, and I found Levyathan to be a fascinating character.
The other major thing I loved about Dorilian’s character was his ability to adapt and change, to see the necessity of that change even if he didn’t like it. His time with Marc Frederick (particularly after the midway point in the book) was very interesting. I liked watching Dorilian grow and learn from the king, even while he was preparing for his own schemes.
As I closed in on the end, I had theories about how things would play out. There is a group related to the Sordaneon family, the Malyrdeons, who have the gift of foresight. It was clear early in the book that Dorilian was aware of some of what they’d seen, and the story definitely marched toward it… but the how was what I was speculating on. And none of it played out as I’d guessed. The ending was INTENSE. And really well done.
Side note: I have also read books 2 and 3 in this series, The Kheld King and The Second Stone, respectively. The intrigue, character arcs, and lore only get better as it goes on. If you like epic fantasy, check out this series.