In this sweeping sequel to the critically acclaimed Cold Iron—which NPR Books raved, “reminded me, pleasurably, of Robin Hobb’s Assassin’s Apprentice series”—the Kingdom of Eledore has fallen and Nel and Suvi lead a diaspora of their people to safety, but the magic that has kept the demon forces away is dwindling, and they must find a new way to protect themselves.
The Acrasian army has swept through Eledore, nearly massacring the entire race in fear and hatred of the magic they possess. This same magic is all that was keeping the demon incursion at bay, but now the great evil that was banished is seeping into the world. Watchers are formed to warn of any sightings of the demons, but little can be done if one encounters them in shadow or at night.
Meanwhile, Nels leads a precious few hundred survivors of Eledore through the wilds, hoping to find solace and rebuild their civilization while his twin sister, Suvi, seeks allies at sea.
There is hope, born in the ashes of this devastation—a hope that Eledorian magic can grow, but only if they survive.
Leicht returns to the flintlock fantasy world of 2015's Cold Iron with a dark and lively followup, picking up a few years after the human Acrasians invaded and slaughtered the nonhuman, magic-wielding Eledoreans. Nineteen-year-old Suvi, now queen, presides over the hold in the Grandmother Mountain of New Eledore, where refugees from the war are offered safety. Her twin, Nels, strikes out on his own against Suvi's wishes, trying to help the Eledorean cause. Brooding, conflicted retainer Blackthorne, who keeps a terrible secret, has escorted the weaponsmith Tobias Freeson to the Hold. Freeson carries stolen books that contain incendiary information on gun manufacturing and could change the future of war, all while dangerous creatures called malorum roam the land. The fast-paced story contains all the trappings of exciting epic fantasy, but the large cast and multiple points of view can also have a dizzying effect. Leicht mostly focuses on the male characters, but she populates her story with plenty of swashbuckling, swaggering women who defy stereotypes and more than carry their weight among the men, including Capt. Gaia Julia, a Waterborne who helps Nels on the high seas and beyond, and Captain of the Watch Emma Drake, who didn't get her job the honest way but is determined to escape the brutal fate of most common women. Leicht appears to be gearing up for a long series: the young characters have plenty of growing up to do, and a big world to do it in.
I loved it and the themes
Loved the intricate plot and how the individual storylines and how they converged. The new characters are fantastic and I love them. The character development was even more amazing. The themes were also very refreshing and very satisfying to be seen included. Eagerly awaiting the third book!