I can't believe this excellent YA SF (and a bit of everything else) series is almost over.
Mari leads an army now. She and Alain must fight together to bind back the Broken Kingdom and build a force strong enough to defeat the might of the Great Guilds. But the Storm has many Servants who seek to preserve or gain personal power or wealth, or fear the New Day that Mari seeks to bring to the world.
And Mari knows that victory will mean nothing if the precious knowledge brought long ago to their world is destroyed. In order to save it, Alain and Mari will have to pierce through the heart of their enemies' power and confront once more a place of ancient nightmare.
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Source: I received this book free in return for an honest review, courtesy of Audible Studios.
This is #5 of 6 in "The Pillars of Reality" series. Both #5 & #6 will continue to be available on audio only until towards the end of 2016 when the Kindle & Paperback versions will be released.
**This review contains spoilers for the previous book(s).**
I was so excited to get this book. There was a lot of internal flailing going on as I listened straight through on my day off. I did do a bit of pouting afterwards though since, sadly, what I loved best about the last book - all the time we got to spend with my favorite side characters - was curtailed in this one.
I was disappointed that we had just gathered this great group of characters together and started to see everything they could do, and then a big section of this book was spent with a small group (that didn't have my favorites) off on a mission.
That said, I am sooo glad that the final book will be out just a month after this one!
Note: some things may be spelling incorrectly in this review, since the text version isn't out yet and I had only the audio to go by.
Mari: She has fully embraced her role and is now working to allow others some measure of control and autonomy rather than try to keep a finger in every pie.
Alain: He is under so much pressure to remain constantly vigilant. I am glad that they are giving her other guards as well, despite her dislike of the resulting lack of privacy. He is working to find a balance between acting human again, and still using what he has learned. There is a moment when he becomes distracted by anger and uses mage techniques to calm himself. I like that he isn't feeling/being pressured to give up everything he is, only the bad parts.
Alain & Mari: Jealousy is gone, all that is left is full trust and commitment. I really really hope we get an epilogue, or some sort of follow up at the end, that shows what they could be together if their lives weren't constant in danger.
Alli & Calu: were reunited & married in the last book. They are some of my favorites and some of those who were given way too little time.
Asha: was the character whose arc got the most attention in this book.
Bev: She got some good growth, but it took place between books. I do really like the direction she is going in beginning to work with the children. I feel that she has the experience & compassion plus the toughness necessary when dealing with war orphans and other children in Tiae. She also didn't get enough time.
Mechanic Dav: Was in a big chunk of the book; but, other than being in love with Asha, I don't feel like he has gotten the development he needs to be interesting.
After 4 previous books, there wasn't a lot of new world building in this one. No completely new locations this time, just additional cities in Tiae and more time in the Empire. Also, no dragons or any new spell creatures this time around, but we did get a really nice moment with Mari & a Roc.
The rebels of her "daughterness" (as Alli calls Mari, to annoy her) have begun to build the items from the forbidden texts; so there were better far talkers, some artillery that Alli is very attached to, and a surprise invention that plays a bit part.
This is my favorite beginning since the first one. We got to see Mari with her Mages & Mechanics, the revived army of Tiae, and a growing army of Commons under General Flyn all working together to retake the city of Minute. There were lots of opportunities to spotlight different characters.
After all the adventures with trains in the past books, I was disappointed not to have one this time. Since he had mixed it up in #4 and had them be the one attacking the train, I was looking forward to seeing what happened this time.
I understand the necessity of the mission they undertake in the middle of the book, but I think that it took up too much of the story. I also did not find the small number of people that participated to be a very dynamic group.
Warning: the ending IS a cliffhanger, as the forces of the enemies begin to descend on multiple locations and the final confrontation is about to begin. (It doesn't end in the middle of anything though.)
HIGHLIGHTS / CAUTIONS:
- The observations about the differences between epic tales and real life adventures, which include days of boring travel and horses that act up at important moments.
- I like the fact that foresight continues to be both a help (when Alain is able to foresee danger) and a big problem (when other mages foresee where they might be going).
- I loved how the Mage guild's attempts to discredit Alain are proving detrimental to his enemies by causing them to jump to incorrect conclusions
So, being the 5th book, I don't feel the need to repeat all the accolades. I will just say that the small production issues found in the previous book were not present here, and Mr. Andrews did his usual excellent job.
Talk to Me (pretty please)
- I like how in this book (and in the Heartstrikers series by Rachel Aaron) you have people with the ability to see the future pitted against one another. Any recommendations for similar books?
- Does it bother you when favorite characters from previous books get sidelined in a sequel?
- If you are a first time visitor, how did you discover my blog?
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