Having liked We Ride the Storm quite a bit when I read it last month, when I was offered an ARC of book 2 in the series, I couldn’t resist. I even started it almost immediately!
So thanks to the author for the review copy! 😀
Into Kisia’s conquered north, a Levanti empire is born.
Loyal to the new emperor, Dishiva e’Jaroven must tread the line between building a new life and clinging to the old. Only Gideon can lead them, but when he allies himself with a man returned from the dead it will challenge all she thinks she knows and everything she wants to believe.
Now empress of nothing, Miko is more determined than ever to fight for her people, yet with her hunt for allies increasingly desperate, she may learn too late that power lies not in names but in people.
Rah refused to bow to the Levanti emperor, but now abandoned by the Second Swords he must choose whether to fight for his people, or his soul. Will honour be his salvation, or lead to his destruction?
Sold to the Witchdoctor, Cassandra’s only chance of freedom is in his hands, but when her fate becomes inextricably linked to Empress Hana, her true nature could condemn them both.
There is no calm after the storm.
“We cannot undo what has been done, we can only make the best of what we have and seek to build something bigger and better than ourselves.”
Well, this one picks up pretty much where We Ride the Storm left off. The Kisian Empire is fractured, with the Levanti claiming a good chunk of it, and Miko Ts’ai attempting to claim the other, with pushback.
Rah e’Torin has been exiled from the rest of the Levanti and left pretty much to die, but runs into some trouble which ends up leaving him with an unexpected companion.
Cassandra is stuck with Empress Hana, who has been sold along with her to the Witchdoctor who wants to do experiments on her. At the same time, he is the only one who can free her from her… affliction, so she’s willing to tolerate them. Her and the empress end up becoming fairly close due to their circumstances as well.
And we see part of this story from the POV of Dishiva e’Jaroven as well, who is the new Commander of the Imperial Guard. She is guarding the new Emperor from threats coming from inside, while also keeping an eye on one Dom Leo Villius, the son of the Chiltean Hieromonk, who has showed up quite unexpectedly, considering the state he was left in after the conquest of the Empire.
I love love loved this story, as it answered some of the questions that I had been left with in book one, not the least of which is what exactly Cassandra’s affliction is, and how it can be used. We do find out more about that in this volume, and I thought it was fantastic. I ended up really latching onto Dishiva, despite her being kind of new, and rooted for her to win the day.
I also really enjoyed Rah’s adventures in this one, even more so than in the first book. He is sent out on his own in this one, and we get to see how he fares without his Swords behind him. He is a very honorable man, and feels a bit as if he is the only Levanti with any honor left. When he runs into his new companion, I wasn’t expecting them to stick together as long as they did, but I found myself loving the relationship between them all the same. I have feelings about this, and I hope they are resolved in some way.
And Cassandra… oh Cassandra. I wasn’t sure what I thought of her portion of the story when it started, but when her and Hana got closer together, I’ll admit that I was hooked! She’s so crass in a way that I can relate to. She knows what she wants and she’ll fight to get it, and the dynamic between her and Hana was awesome, because one is very proper (as an Empress should probably be) and one is very, very not. This is on top of the voice that lives in Cassandra’s head throwing Her 2 cents in from time to time.
But, the big winner here in terms of characters that I didn’t know whether to admire or loathe or… maybe a bit of both I think? (???) is Dom Leo Villius. Wow. Just… Damn, my dude.
This was such a hard book to put down. The world is vivid and easy for me to imagine. The plot rolls right along at a rather brisk pace, and I found myself making time at work and while eating to read snippets of it, because I just could not tear myself away. Still just as well written as the first volume, this one continues the story in a way that satisfied and yet left me wanting more. It twisted, it turned, it constantly left me surprised and excited to pick it up and read more.
An easy 5/5 stars on this one. Fantastic read! More more more more more, pls! 😀
Thanks again to the author for the review copy. 🙂