October 24, 2016 by McDowski
The more you try to see, the less you will notice.
The Gods are among us. As are the ancient and immortal Csestriim. And the Leach Lords, who ruled the world so many centuries ago, and all but destroyed it. These were but some of the revelations in the previous books, revelations that showed us that this war on Annua is a whole lot bigger than mere politics.
Adare is continuing to try to save the capital from within, even as she mistrusts her general (and father of her child) and his motivations. Kaden, too, is trying his hand at politicking, and realising he is not particularly good at it, but his quasi-coup has only added to Adare’s problems. Valyn, who last left barely alive following his disastrous confrontation with Ran il’Tonja and Adare, is becoming less interested in politics and more in killing, as whatever eating the slarn egg did to him goes into overdrive.
This was quite a good book. It wasn’t perfect, by any means. Adare, despite having a progressively larger presence as the series went on, never quite seemed to actually be doing anything. In some ways, she demonstrated herself to be the most perfectly suited to politics; all primp and posturing, with little action. Kaden, too, seemed to have been relegated to moping and delving into philosophical ponderings. There were no surprises; everyone was pretty much exactly who you thought they were, and did what you expected them to do. And I thought the way the Balendin sub-plot was handled was… well, pretty ludicrous. And the ending was a bit confusing, in that it seemed to contradict certain earlier elements.
And yet, this was a good book. Except for certain parts, the book never
seemed to be dragging its feet. Things were happening, there was plenty of action, characters learning to grow, some insights were given on previously mysterious characters, Valyn being all kinds of bad-ass. I liked it. I enjoyed it. A particularly nice addition was Gwenna as a POV, upgraded from her previous status as a secondary character to a reluctant leader of her band of Kettral, giving the reader a break from the main plot as she tries to undo the near extinction of the Eyrie (Kettral HQ) following the various politics being played out in the capital. She got her chance to shine, and she did.
All in all, a good book and a good series. There are definitely some things I would want Staveley to do better in future books, but a pretty damn impressive debut trilogy on the whole. I’ll give both this book itself, and the series as a whole, a 4 out of 5.