They called her the Witch Queen…
Driven from her kingdom, the would-be queen now seeks haven in the land of her mother, but Ashlyn will not stop until justice has been done. Determined to unlock the secret of powers long thought impossible. Ashlyn bends her will and intellegence to mastering the one thing people always accused her of, sorcery.
Meanwhile, having learned the truth of his mutation, Bershad is a man on borrowed time. Never knowing when his healing powers will drive him to a self-destruction, he is determined to see Ashlyn restored to her throne and the creatures they both love safe.
I may be a little late with my review but these days, it’s become a norm. But believe me when I tell you that I jumped with joy when I received the ARC for this one because Blood of an Exile was one of my top favorites from last year and I couldn’t wait to see what was gonna happen next. And just as expected, the author didn’t disappoint me at all.
If there’s one thing that stays with you as you read this book is the breakneck pace – there’s just something happening every couple of pages and it doesn’t let up or give us breathing room. And it is so unpredictable that every twist shook me up and took me by surprise – but once it happened, I was left exclaiming that it was actually quite expected. And it is this pacing, relentlessness and surprising nature of the book that makes this a formidable sequel to its equally spectacular predecessor, also ensuring that it doesn’t have anything resembling a second book syndrome. We also get more world building, exploring new lands and ecosystems, and also getting to know the various experiments being conducted and their wide range implications for the people and creatures of these lands.
The characters are as interesting as ever, with more POVs added and while I can’t see how important some of them might be, I’m very sure the author has many plans for them in the future. I don’t wanna go into detail about every one of them, because that’ll lead to spoilers and I really want every reader to get to know these characters themselves.
It’s such a diverse group too – from exiles trying to find their place in this world, some trying to understand more about themselves and their link to the dragons, one queen trying to save the empire by trying to think like a scientist while another just wants her agency and peace for all the people but is naive to the wiles of people she trusts, a bodyguard who just wants to protect her charge but has to let go of every other connection she has to the world to make it possible, and a young alchemist who just wanted to heal people but finds himself thrust into the middle of a war he didn’t ask for.
And amidst all this is a cunning and devious mad scientist whose ideas and plans for the world are so extreme and far reaching, that I don’t think anyone within the story or we as readers have still grasped them as a whole.
We might be intrigued about some of them, pity a few and hate some others – but I promise that any reader will get very easily invested in their lives because it’s impossible not to.
To conclude, this is a worthy sequel to the author’s wonderful debut and I was just so excited to be lost in the world of Terra. If you love your fantasy novels to be full of breakneck pacing, great group of characters, lots of twists and betrayals, a mix of science and environmental studies thrown in, alongwith a whole horde of majestic dragons – then this series is just perfect for you. It is highly engaging, dark at times but also with bits of humor, and lots of heart. It’s probably gonna be an year’s wait for the finale and I’m very excited for it, even though everything feels like a doomsday for my favorite characters.
PS: Thank you to Tor Books and Netgalley for providing me with this advance copy. All opinions expressed here are unbiased and solely mine.