One of my favourite discoveries of this year was Tom Lloyd’s Stranger of Tempest which was published earlier last year. I’m a sucker for a good new fantasy series that has the ability to immediately drag me into a rollicking good time. I will excuse minor issues with an author’s writing if the larger story, the world, and the action is such that I’m caught up and put on the edge of my seat until the wee-hours of the morning.
Another bonus was the fact that not only did Tom Lloyd publish a novella set soon after the events of Stranger of Tempest, but the next book in the series was only months away. Those months passed quickly, and this past week I just finished the second book in the series, Princess of Blood.
I’ll admit, however, that there isn’t a lot more to say than what I said in the original review for Stranger of Tempest. The characters remained tremendous, the world continued to unfold to be more and more interesting, and the author’s descriptive abilities left me a little lost (although this was much less apparent this time around).
The story of Princess of Blood followed a very similar path as the first book; The first half of the book is split between “Then” and “Now” before coming together in the middle of the book for the book’s primary purpose – a journey underground through an ancient labyrinth in which Lynx again suffers from his fear of dark and enclosed spaces, Toil again leads the crew, and Sitain continues to explore her abilities. The party taken underground was smaller this time, but also included some new faces which made for some interesting shifts in character interaction.
To be very clear, I was again completely hooked from page one – the new characters and the old all serving to make this book utterly compelling. Even though I was a little frustrated with what appeared to be some serious contrived character development, I can’t be sure that it doesn’t serve a greater purpose for the whole; though, that in and of itself might be a literary sin all on its own – I’m not sure whether to give leeway for character development that makes no sense in the book, but will make sense in the series.
Regardless – and that was a seriously minor issue – Princess of Blood brought the development of the characters, their relationships, and the world in which they live, to a point that left me eager to read more. There is a simmering concern for the free states – represented by Toil, primarily, who is dragging the Cards kicking and screaming into the equation – over the growing influence and control exerted by The Militant Orders. I’m excited to see where this leads, and the trouble Toil and co. find themselves embroiled in.
Overall, this series is definitely worthwhile picking up for anyone looking for some kick-ass fantasy. It won’t take you a long time to read, but it’s fun and exciting and filled with characters you’ll love and hate in equal measure.
Review by Joshua S Hill
8/10 from 1 reviews
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