4.0 out of 5 starscan you hate an ending and also think it was brilliantly set up?
March 15, 2017 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I am having a really hard time thinking about what to say about this book without giving away spoilers. So I'll talk about other things first.
This is book two in a series and it is actually pretty strong for a second book. It had a beginning, middle, and end, and didn't just feel like a filler volume for getting from point A to point B. That is rare for the second book in a trilogy and the book definitely deserves credit for getting that right. The end was final enough that I am not really sure where book 3 is going to go, but I guess I will find out. (For reference, you definitely DO need to read book 1 before proceeding on to this one.)
I feel like there was less exposition and less infodumping in this volume than in book 1, which is a definite improvement. I'm not saying that sort of thing was completely absent, but there was less of it, or at least I noticed it less.
There is a lot of rather graphic violence in this book, some of it quite senseless. It does a good job of showing the brutality of the antagonists, but if you can't handle reading about blood and gore, this is probably not the series for you. There's some foul language as well. It is not overused, but it is there (some of the curses are downright creative, for what it's worth). There's also some humor and it is well-placed among the more serious scenes.
This book follows some of the same viewpoint characters from book 1 (e.g., Dug, a Warrrior in his 40s, Spring, a girl who is more of a tween or teen in this book, and Lowa, the newly-minted queen in Maidun Castle) but there are some additional viewpoint characters including Ragnall the Druid, Chamanca (an Iberian Warrior who fights for Lowa), a neighboring king, and a few others. I feel like the first half of the book was a lot of Ragnall and Chamanca and, while they are interesting and complex characters, they weren't my favorites from before, so I was somewhat less invested in the first half of this book than I was in book 1. The second half has more Dug and Spring and Lowa on adventures and I enjoyed it more as a result.
The stakes are pretty high in this book. Lowa is trying to defend Britain against a Roman invasion, but she has to contend with three other armies, as well. There is a lot of betrayal and double-dealing in this book, and pretty soon the odds against Lowa's success seem insurmountable. (To the point I actually had to go look up the Roman conquest of Britain to see when it occurred though, as I thought I remembered, it was some decades after this series was set.) And not all the good guys make it through to the end. Losses are heavy and personal.
And then there is the ending. I don't know if it is possible to simultaneously hate an ending because of what actually happens, and to think it was brilliantly set up. There were musings by certain characters early in the book that I thought were just more of the author's exposition that turned out to make the ending much more poignant. (I won't say whom or what to watch out for because that would constitute a spoiler for sure.) A whole lot of things had to come together perfectly for the ending to work, and they did, and I didn't even realize it until after all the pieces were already in place. It's almost worthy of a re-read except for the fact that I seem to have a pretty sharp memory for the events of this book. I guess the things that made an impression on me when I was reading, the things that stuck out, eventually all connected together. It was nicely done.
Anyway, this was a solid book overall. I think perhaps a little too much time was spent on Ragnall and Chamanca, which is what made the first part drag for me (their parts to play in all of this became a bit repetitive), so it is not a five star book for me, but really I am appreciating this book a lot more as I sit and think about how it all came together and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.
5.0 out of 5 starsHighly recommended - writes like Joe Abercrombie
July 13, 2015 - Published on Amazon.com
Excellent book and series. I am a big fan of Joe Abercrombie's books and these provide a fix for that style of writing. Very engaging plot and well developed characters. No spoiler but this is the type of writer who isn't afraid to kill of anyone - unlike some books, you know the main character will always survive, always win, always find a way to come out on top in the end. Not so much here. And the story and relationships intertwine over time and little nuances play much larger roles later, when you least expect it.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys edgy fantasy books based in more primitive times (swords and magic, no guns, no computers)
3.0 out of 5 starsClash is good, but not as great as Age.
November 2, 2015 - Published on Amazon.com
Not as good as the first book, but pretty good book overall.
There are some solid characters built up here, and enough action and adventure to keep one interested. Really like historical takes with a fantasy flair to them. This author even made me laugh a few times, to balance all the violence and stressful situations.
Most def did not like him killing off a huge main character before the last, 3rd book.