Second books have a tendency of being a bit of fillers and just generally the least interesting part of a series. Mr. Ryan was like “fuck that, Imma do this”. Maybe he didn’t say that, maybe he doesn’t swear, but after a book this badass I imagine him being like that. If I’m totally wrong, contact me or whatever.
We go on with the story. The White dragon and Co. is still insistent on taking over the world with Spoiled and all. The human are less enthusiastic about the project, but at this point they are kinda powerless against all that crazy. And they are also idiots, who have a hard time allying against something that will potentially kill em all.
Lizanne needs to find a mythical inventor. Clay needs to find a place he had seen in his future that leads him to the salvation of the word. Hilemore needs to find his cool. No, he needs to do the captaining in a way that allows Clay to do his thing, but that sounded kinda fun. Also, they go to some arctic place. So cool. Ha.
Aaaand there is a new POV character, who would be a spoiler, even though this person has the first chapter, but still. There is a new one, with a whoooole new point of view that I personally never expected to see and it was REALLY interesting and a whole new facet of the story. Ingenious. (view spoiler)
I’ve loved pretty much everything about this. When it comes to fantasy with serious topics and not much humour, like here… I need me some exploration. I find that if the story is dark and serious in tone I need two things to make it palatable; either some hilarious dark funny moments (hello Mr. Dresden, I love you so much) or adventures and the wonder of exploration. Here the latter is what’s happening more and I am 100% fine with that, because the world building is on point.
We got to see for example the Corvantine Empire in this one, which is extremely interesting and different from the Ironship Syndicate, but just as dangerous. We got a different kind of human race! It’s all fascinating stuff and the whole thing was much easier to grasp than in the first book. There some moments were a bit hard to follow with the names and different powers and all, but it did pay off 100%.
(One thing from the first book they didn’t care much about here was the way Product was weakening, though. I really liked that idea, so I hope Mr. Ryan deals with it later, but it was totally understandable why they didn’t care too much while everyone was trying to survive crazy stuff. The implications are just… really interesting.)
The characters were still great. At this point in time I can’t help cheering on the author for writing a young female character who is a person, not a Straaaawn Female Character cliche. Lizanne doesn’t go on tangents about how she needs to beat men. She is not morally superior. She does need her male allies just as much as the female ones. For how much we keep hearing about female characters, we do have a lot of shittily written, “all that matters is that it’s flattering to think about her for women who typically can’t even land a punch”, and Lizanne is NOT anything like that. Do enjoy.
With fantasy novels romance is always something that can make or break my relationship with them. I don’t need it. If it never happens… I’m kinda content with that. But if we do it, then at least make it feel okay. Here that happens. Romances start, they are understated, Mr. Ryan realises that the focal point of the story is not soap opera, but dragons and wars and all that. None of that gets overshadowed by needless romantic drama. People can even drift apart without ridiculous meddling, magical or otherwise and good ol’ “I could explain, because I am not going to, which means you will misunderstand and hate my guts”.
Never read anything before this series by Anthony Ryan, so I have no idea if he is generally this freaking brilliant and magical and perfect, or he just got lucky. I doubt it’s luck, this is pure talent for intricate stories in well-built worlds with enjoyable characters, with tight action, with constant excitement, everything. Seriously, I can only rave about this.
I’m gonna say, though, I don’t think this series is a good first time getting into fantasy as a genre. It’s just really complicated and being unfamiliar with the genre as well as trying to understand a specific world like this can potentially put people off of fantasy for a long time. Otherwise it’s A+.
At this point I’m interested in everything the author produces. I need to read his previous books, get the sequel of this as soon as it comes out and I’m looking forward to whatever he does next. Again, I can’t say for sure if this is his norm or not, but I am optimistic and really pumped about not only this, but reading in general and you need a certain kind of book to achieve that effect. So there is that, I freaking loved this. All the stars in the sky for this book.
Have a nice day and definitely get this burning hot piece of work!