My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Previous Review of City of Storms
Previous Review of City of Wolves
This is the third installment of a four (4) book series that moves the story to the City of Nantwich (Emblem of Crossed Keys) … after a very slow start with Malach in the Land of Witches that didn’t really do much for me (although I was pleased to see an Arc of Redemption start to play out for him). Once we actually get to Nantwich things start to pick up once again … and for the first time we get an undeniable big bad as the powerful nightmage Balaur (revealed in the previous book) gathers his forces under the Banner of the Black Sun to return to power … now that the Void is gone and the Ley restored to the nightmage cities (with secrets and betrayals throughout). The previous Cold War is now very Hot … perhaps enough to even pull in the mysterious witches.
There is less world building here (still some with the Witch Realm) and once the action gets going, that pulls you through the story quickly as the focus seems to shift to more character building (especially Malach and Nikola); although we do see a few hints as to how the current world came to be and a vague reference to a bound or sleeping dragon. What I continue to find interesting are the flawed heroes that rise to the occasion to [mostly] carry the day. The magic system of Marks, Alchemy, Cartomancy, Lithomancy (Witches) gain a little more definition, but still manage to avoid becoming so over the top that it derails the plot (and I continued to enjoy that as well). What really drives this part of the series though is the political intrigue that still manages delivers surprises that place ur heroes in a variety of difficult situations. Although the bloom is off the rose, this is still a fanatic series and this book will join the others on my favorites shelf … looking forward to the conclusion in the City of Dawn (as the story moves to the southern desert).
I was given this free advance review copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
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