If the first two novellas impressed me with their vivid and lush descriptions and the fascinating world, this book goes into a whole other direction I wasn’t expecting and left me all kinds of horrified.
This novella is mainly told in the epistolary format, including lots of reports, transcripts, diary entries and letters. Because this wasn’t always straightforward and the story involved finding out the truth about what happened at the institute, there is an air of mystery about and I liked the slow unraveling of the truth. The descriptions here also tended to be more on the horrific side and there were many instances where I found it difficult to continue. But I also liked that we finally got to see deeper into the Protectorate’s activities and how corrupt and monstrous it is towards it’s own people.
While we mostly follow a Tensor turned rebel Sariman, I also liked that we got glimpses of the twins and also a few chapters in the POV of Rider. Sariman is just trying to do her job and is frustrated with all the obstacles she has to face, but when she realizes that the truth is so much bigger and terrifying, she teams up with the rebels to get to the bottom of it. Her storyline represents the many people who try to do the right thing even when it doesn’t effect them personally, even when they don’t get credited for it. I liked this change of the tone of the series going from extraordinary individuals to the ordinary ones – proving that every one is equally important in a revolution.
I was just left gasping towards the end with it’s hopeful, yet heartbreaking climax and that just means that I’m gonna read the final book immediately. If you enjoy stories with rebels, intricate magic systems and great character relationships, then you should check this series out without fail because I promise, you will be blown away.
When I finished The Descent of Monsters, I assumed this book would be a continuation of that storyline and I didn’t even bother reading the blurb. But this one turned out to be something very different and unexpected.
I’ve read someone describe this book as a drunken monologue and that’s just perfect. It’s very conversational but we only get to hear one side of the dialogue, however that didn’t take away from the story at all. I quite liked this style of storytelling. And the best part, this is almost like a combination of lovers to enemies and villain romance trope, and it’s something I’ve never read before. This book also doesn’t have a lot of world building because it’s a very personal story and I quite liked this change of pace.
The Protector has always been on the fringes of the series as a terrifying character but we never get to know much about her, so this origin story of hers in the words of someone very close to her was very fascinating to read. At the same time, this is also Lady Han’s story and how the Machinist movement came to be – so the overall vibe of this book is like a historical account. It’s also a very interesting look at how circumstances change a person completely and how much power can corrupt anyone – to such an extent that love and relationships don’t matter anymore. Sonami is another character who has remained very mysterious throughout the series and I can’t wait to get to know her better.
To conclude, this book may not have had the story I wanted, but it was still an amazing read. The author has managed to immerse me in this sometimes cruel world through four very unique novellas, and my only hope is that we get so many more books in this series because I’m not done with these characters and want to follow them through so many more stories.