Embers of an Age by Tim Marquitz (Blood War Trilogy: Book 2)

Let's be honest, all writers want to be epic fantasy writers. The best romance writers, the best horror writers, even the best literature writers all wish they were writing epic fantasy right now. Ok well maybe not all writers want to write epic fantasy, but for horror writer Tim Marquitz, writing epic fantasy is becoming a reality. A reality it seems he is very good at. Embers of an Age is Marquitz's second attempt at epic fantasy, the second book in his Blood War trilogy, and a clear demonstration that he is willing to learn from previous mistakes to produce the best book he possibly can.

Lathah has fallen. The Lathahn are on the run, the eager Grol snapping at their heels, and it feels like destruction is just around the corner. Regrouping the forest of Pathrale, the leaders of the remaining races come up with a plan - find the Sha'ree, head into the desert, recover the lost artifacts, and bring the fight to the Grol. It's a simple plan to be carried out by the best people - what could possibly go wrong?

One of the changes you will notice right away is that the book (and series) feels like it has a much more epic scope. The goals for this story are clearly identified at the start of this story, and the consequences of failure are much more severe. Gone is the confusion, the lack of reason for why the Grol are doing what they are doing, and in it's place is an overarching epic scope where you get to see the Grol are just puppets - tools in a much larger scheme. Another change you will notice is a reduction in the number of plots early on in the story before the characters branch out on their own path. The smaller subplots are given a context in the overall scheme of things, the viewpoint control is hugely improved, and in the end everything meshes together with much more logic and cohesion making for a fantastic conclusion.

Characterisation is much better in this book, probably because we have already been introduced to all of the main characters and there arent too many new additions to the cast. While Dawn of War was a whirlwind introduction to every character in the story, Embers of an Age takes it's time, reintroducing characters as the plot requires. Marquitz has created a range of different plot issues, designed to challenge each character's weaknesses in a variety of different ways. It feels slightly contrived at first, but it just works and in the end this design makes for some very powerful and emotional scenes.

Embers of an Age is vast improvement on Dawn of War. Marquitz has taken all the issues I had with Dawn of War and addressed them in creative and stylish ways. The book is fast, action packed, contains plenty of gore and grotesque monsters, and is just a blast to read. Bring on Book 3.

9/10 Fast, action packed, contains plenty of gore and grotesque monsters, and is just a blast to read.

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