Well… it all comes down to this! (dun dun dunnnn). Having really liked the last two books in this series, it was safe to say that I was excited to see how it all ended up, and so when I was offered a review copy, I gladly accepted and shuffled it up my TBR as much as I could.
So, this review is based on a review copy of the novel. Thanks to the author for that review copy.
The endgame has begun.
The battle for the emperor’s throne grows ever fiercer. The City of Countless Souls cowers behind locked doors as the whims of the downtrodden and the powerful bring the great game of Araxes to its chaotic conclusion.
With the soulblade at his hip and magic in his soul, Caltro’s freedom is almost within reach. But as Temsa reign of murder clashes with Widow Horix’s plans, the locksmith’s fate becomes all the more entwined with the needs of dead gods, the Cult, and vengeful royals. Caltro realises his struggle is not just for his redemption, but for that of the entirety of the Far Reaches.
While the Core Districts descend into chaos, debts left unpaid in the desert haunt Nilith’s long-awaited arrival in the city. A new foe is hunting her through the streets, an enemy with enough power to rival even that of the Cloudpiercer.
And yet all their struggles pale in comparison to the dark omen that is spreading through the Arctian Empire:
The River Nyx is drying up.
‘I refuse to help you any longer. You started this. You can finish it.’
‘I see you found some testicles in the dunes, husband.’
Oh Caltro. What a fun character. In this last volume, Caltro is so, so near freedom, even if it’s dead freedom. Boss Temsa and the Widow Horix have had him bouncing back and forth between them, but the dead gods that have appeared to brighten his days every now and then to continue to tell him that he has an important job to do. So, he and his faithful (and mostly-inanimate) sidekick Pointy may have to save not only the day, but everyone and everything as well.
Meanwhile, Nilith has finally made it to Araxes across the brutal dunes, only to find that the Nyx river, the water needed to bind the dead, is drying up. Enemies she made on her journey are still chasing her, and it’s become a race to the end of her quest.
Sisine and her efforts to be the emperess-in-more-than-waiting is being met by defiance of the council of sereks, and more than ever she needs to get her father the emperor out of his sanctuary. Because he’s a crap emperor and she could do better, of course!
And the mysterious
CultChurch of Sesh is planning and plotting in the background… but what is it that they are plotting towards? Dun Dun DUNNNNNN.
So, fun times & shenanigans! 😀
I’ve really loved how fast paced and fun this series has been. It’s dark, when it needs to be. There’s all kinds of gruesome murder and what have you. I mean the entire premise of the thing includes a great deal of death in various forms, but it never takes itself entirely seriously, and that is what has made the whole story such a winner for me. Even the informational quotes at the beginning of chapters have a few laughs in them.
The writing was immersive and descriptive, with imagery that sometimes made my eyes widen with a bit of awe at the comparison. That said, I never found it overly descriptive, or to the point where it was boring or just gross. But using the image of a pomegranate thrown against a boulder as a simile for… well, something much grosser than that, was brilliant use of language. At least… I thought so. I can imagine the city of Araxes and its many denizens fairly well.
I love Caltro, and have loved him through this entire journey. He is snarky and usually has a comeback for anyone, no matter how above his station they may be, and he has the confidence he needs to be what he is. He is the best locksmith in the entire Reaches, goddamn it, and that makes him important! I also really liked Nilith. I wasn’t sure in the beginning of the series what I thought of her, but by the end of it, I was on Team Nilith 100%. She is snarky and full of wit at times too, and despite how arduous her journey has been, she’s never given up. Krass by name and crass by nature, these two were foul-mouthed and snarky enough for me to latch right onto.
Things wrapped up in an entertaining way, leaving me satisfied with the conclusion, but the hope that, perhaps one day, something else in this world will come forth. There’s room for more, under different circumstances perhaps, but room for more nonetheless!
All told, this was a very entertaining world to read about, with the idea of being bound as a ghost and a slave after death really, really well thought out and well executed. I had a great time with this series, and this final book was no exception! 4.5/5 stars!~