Sorry for being such a shit and forgetting to post the minimal reviews I've done this year.
This year has just been the absolute worst and I'm still finding it hard to find time to read.
I have this medical condition that causes me to lose concentration and fall asleep if I stay still for too long. It's being looked at, but the doctor doesn't want to treat me through the public system since I got tested through the private system. Essentially this specialist has an issue with my GP (who is the sweetest, coolest, most laid-back dude ever, and once dressed up as Gandalf for a fancy dress party, so you know he's cool) and takes it out on my GPs patients?!!!! Like is that even legal? Do I even want to work with this specialist? But the only other specialist in the state is on vacation?!!!! So essentially FML.
ANYWAY ON TO THE REVIEW.
I received this book for free from HarlequinTeen Australia, Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I don’t even know where to start with this book.
You know how each instalment of a series is supposed to be more epic than the last?
Well, at one point Snyder has something like 28 characters ‘onscreen’, all with different motivations, characterisations, and backstories, including small children with more sass than they have the right to be.
I don’t know how she managed to keep it all straight in her head, let alone write it in a way that made sense to her audience.
The crux of the story is that Valek’s old BFF Ambrose ‘The Commander’ is going to invade Sitia and wipe out all of the magicians with the help of some old enemies of Yelena’s. The Sitians are preparing for war against Ixia, but they are being mind-controlled by food laced with Theobroma, which strips a person’s resilience to magic. Meanwhile, Yelena has every bounty hunter on her tail, no magic, and a growing baby bump. Valek is getting too old for this shit, but he’s the only one who can face down certain people while trying to keep his newly-discovered magical powers a secret (which led to some truly awesome scenes of outsmarting villains, I might add).
The team – or ‘herd’ as they start to refer to themselves – of Yelena’s allies all work together to overcome their various obstacles including finding a way to beat Theobroma and work around the newly discovered resistance to the old fallbacks of laced poison darts. There’s a lot of investigation, sneaking, spying, assassin-ining, disguises, riding hard and fast, deals made and broken, and trust betrayed and earned again. All the while Yelena and Valek manage to keep the hots for each other: no mean feat after years together offscreen. I think Yelena is meant to be in her mid to late twenties now, and Valek is close to, if not, forty.
There’s so many characters in this book that we have to take on multiple points of view to tell the story. Yelena’s is always my favourite, mostly because it’s first person, but Valek is a close second, only because we get to see the real emotion hiding underneath.
As a conclusion to Yelena and Valek’s story I found this novel very satisfying, including the ending. I recommend this book to all fantasy lovers and even fantasy novices, although it would probably be best to read the books that come before it first.
I look forward to the day Snyder gets an idea for a spin-off about a certain new female character set fifteen or so years into the future, but until then I’ll have to be content with re-reading this amazing, fantastical original fantasy series from cover to cover all over again.