I had to start reading this immediately after the previous book because I couldn’t let go.
In the sequel to The Dragon Throne, we pick up pretty much where we left off. Fianna is still keeping secrets, and burdening herself under the growing weight of her friendship with the Prancer, whilst he is determined to bring his father to rights after the harsh truths he’s discovered about his parentage. Deian is embroiled in an alien culture, thrown down a path of possible destruction, the dragons are back, and dammit, there’s a war-a-coming!
I love that moment at the end of a series when you look back and say ‘Ooohhhhhhhh!’ In fairness, there were a good few of those in this one. All the individual arcs which started their ascent in The Dragon Throne come nicely, but not too quickly, to their conclusions. All the characters evolve excellently, each of them growing in different ways to keep the story interesting and I was perfectly satisfied with how it wrapped up. Not so much that I didn’t want more, but enough to feel that tale was over. You don’t float through this story nicely, you’re tugged along, with every happening that’s so far from easy you have to keep reading to know.
There’s obviously the bouts of heartbreak and loss, it wouldn’t have been complete otherwise after the first book’s happenings (!), and all those moments the characters are pushed through hell, which deepens their complexity without hindering the pace. No run-of-the-mill goodies and baddies – all the supporting characters have enough to give you what you need to fill in their story blanks and give a crap about them too (loved Peana, she never failed to impress me).
I don’t want to say too much because there’s a lot in the characters’ arcs of importance and I don’t want to spoil it, but it checks every box for the fantasy necessaries (swords, sorcery, unicorns, dragons, magiiiiiiiiiic) and throws in some not so usual stuff. Great writing, hugely engaging characters and a vibrant world that spills off the pages – I still feel it – and a ride you definitely won’t be expecting.