The storyline shifts to the reluctant princess-heir of the Fells in this second chronicle of the next generation of wizards and warfare in the Seven Realms.
Alyssa ana’Raisa is not yet 16 but already a seasoned officer in the endless war against Arden. Her unexpected victories include capturing one Capt. Halston Matelon, a potentially useful pawn, and the magemarked street busker Breon, roped into an assassination plot that may lead back to the latest sinister threat to the Realms. Readers eager for updates on Ash and Jenna (Flamecaster, 2016) may be frustrated by the scant tidbits here, but they’ll be more than satisfied with the author’s distinctive, immersive worldbuilding, dense plotting, and complex characterization. Lyss and Hal are both blunt, honorable, war-weary soldiers whose mutual recognition of a kindred soul across battle lines lends conviction to their star-crossed romance even as Breon’s charming braggadocio and painful naiveté supply an appealing foil. While both Hal and Breon are white, Lyss’ dark skin and wheaten hair indicate her mixed ancestry; the many supporting characters represent “a quilt of faces of all colors, all ages, and every social class.” Despite the absence of any overarching narrative arc, the hurtling pace keeps the pages turning through heated battles and embraces, daring plots and escapes, right up to the abrupt cliffhanger ending.
By no means a stand-alone but—like the entire saga—essential for any epic-fantasy collection and catnip for lovers of the genre. (Fantasy. 12-adult)