First published: 2017
Genre: Fantasy, NA
***SPOILER ALERT*** This is not the first book in the series. As such, the synopsis and this review may spoil previous books.
Synopsis: Chaol Westfall and Nesryn Faliq have arrived in the shining city of Antica to forge an alliance with the Khagan of the Southern Continent, whose vast armies are Erilea’s last hope. But they have also come to Antica for another purpose: to seek healing at the famed Torre Cesme for the wounds Chaol received in Rifthold.
After enduring unspeakable horrors as a child, Yrene Towers has no desire to help the young lord from Adarlan, let alone heal him. Yet she has sworn an oath to assist those in need—and will honor it. But Lord Westfall carries shadows from his own past, and Yrene soon comes to realize they could engulf them both.
Alright… I think it’s finally time for me to talk about this. This book took me over a year to read. And I’m mad because it was actually good. The story and the stuff going on were interesting, the new setting was so cool. But I hate Chaol. I hate him so much that I could not read more than a few pages of his POV at a time. Every time I picked up this book, I flied through whatever other perspectives we had, and then I’d get to one of Chaol’s chapters and I felt like stabbing something. Because he’s insufferable, self-righteous, pompous and his head is so fat up his ass, it’s coming out of his mouth. And he completely ruined this book for me. However, in the interest of reviewing this book, I will try to set aside my loathing for him.
Other than Chaol, this was really cool. We discovered some really interesting new things about the world and about the Valg. There were giant eagles. How cool is that. I loved seeing the southern continent and the culture there. It’s very different from Adarlan and what we see in all the other books.
Barring Chaol, obviously, I really enjoyed the characters. I thought Yrene was a great character, minus her rather huge lapse in judgement when it comes to choosing a lover. I loved Nesryn’s character arc. We got to see her family and we got to see her grow into a fully fledged character. We don’t see much of her in the previous books, but here she’s fleshed out and she was probably my favourite character in this book.
I loved how at the end of this book, it kind of felt like the ending of a Marvel film where you know that The Avengers is coming up and all the threads from previous films are going to come together in the upcoming one and it’s just this really exciting anticipatory feeling. That’s what the ending of this film felt and I am looking forward to Kingdom of Ash. I own it, but haven’t read it yet because I’ve been waiting for a time when I’m less stressed, less busy and can really sit down with it and enjoy it. Which hopefully will be this summer.
So all in all, this was a good book. It was probably even better than Empire of Storms in terms of story. But I just hate Chaol so much that I was simply unable to enjoy reading this story. Which just makes me hate Chaol more. But if you don’t share my pure, unadulterated hatred of Chaol, you’ll probably like this.