MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
🚨 This was my #1 read of 2021! Here’s my Top 15 Reads of 2021 blog. 🚨
Heroes will rise. Nations will fall. Behind the towering walls of Belduar, Calen Bryer and his companions stand in defense of the city and its new king. In over a thousand years, Belduar has never fallen. It has stood as a bastion of hope. But the Lorian empire are at its walls once more, and the Dragonguard are coming. In the North, with Faenir by her side, Calen’s sister Ella arrives at the port of Antiquar. She holds no fear of the unknown. She will see this through, no matter what – or who – gets in her way. Meanwhile, at the embassy of the Circle of Magi in Al’Nasla, Rist Havel hones his newfound powers in preparation for the trials. Unbeknownst to Rist, he is being watched, measured, and judged. He was not taken into the Circle by chance. There is greatness in him. But great men can do terrible things. As Lorian forces land on southern shores and Aeson Virandr’s letters of rebellion find their way to the right hands, only the Knights of Achyron see the true danger. The danger that stirs in the darkness. The coming shadow will not stop. It will consume all in its path. It wants for nothing but blood and fire.
📖 kindle ARC
A “story so far” is one of the smartest things an author can do to help their readers, Ryan Cahill does this for us, as all authors should! I just finished a re-read/listen of Of Blood and Fire and The Fall, so it wasn’t really necessary for me since it was already fresh in my mind… but I still read it anyways.
“Fate is fluid, it changes with every decision that is made. It is utterly out of our hands, and completely within our control at the same time.”
This thicc baby is JUICY and starts off full throttle putting you right into the thick of it! It’s action packed, intense, full of fury and rage, with perfectly timed humor. It has a gritty darkness to it, but above all else it has a message of hope, a perfect marriage of both dark and light fantasy that can only be described as GrimHeart. The world building is so intricate that you can picture everything you are reading in fine detail in your mind, and Ryan’s prose flows as smooth as Tennessee Whiskey.
“Stories were beautiful. They were words that painted a canvas in your mind. But death could not be beautiful.”
Multiple POV’s! Yes, that’s right! With everyone so spread out throughout the kingdom of Epheria it is very necessary and it is done very well! Calen and his friends battling the empire, Knights of Achyron facing bloodspawn and bloodmarked, Ella traveling with a deadly enemy right beside her, Rist in Al’Nasla training with the mages, plus more old and new characters. The care and detail that was put into developing each characters stories, including “side characters” was truly wonderful. We really get to know each one of them on a deeper level to understand what truly drives each and every one of them.
Not only do we see the Uraks even more, but if you read The Fall, we get to see more Bloodspawn and Bloodmarked as well… we also get some more truly disturbing creatures like Wyrms and Kerathlin. WARNING: If you have arachnophobia, there are a couple chapters that may bother you!
“We honour the dead, not by how we mourn their death, but how we live on despite it.”
As a Greek history and mythology lover, I noticed something that felt real familiar which was confirmed by the author. In Of Blood and Fire, The Proving was influenced by the Spartans Agöge, in Of Darkness and Light there is another Greek history inspired scene that is reminiscent of the battle of Thermopylae (for those unfamiliar with this, the movie 300 is based on that battle.) I appreciate those things because of my love for that history.
There are also several pop culture references throughout the book. Some will be a lot easier to spot than others, and some may seem like they are references but aren’t (I guessed wrong on a few that were not references at all) 😂. SO KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR THESE!
“It is considered 7 years bad sex to close your eyes while drinking whiskey. 10 years if you choke on it.”
This was an incredible sequel that blew me away from the day I started reading it, to the day I finished. And my God, this finishes on such a high note that will punch you in the soul! What comes next is truly going to be mind blowing and I cannot wait to see what Ryan Cahill has in store!
Just finished my re-read with the audio and Derek Perkins does an absolutely amazing job! He made the experience even better and to hear the emotions coming from someone else’s voice made this book rise even higher. I picked up on more subtle hints this time around as well!