A Series Review- Books One and Two
The Shattered Realms by Cinda Williams Chima
I finally got around to finishing this series and I was going to review them all in one fell swoop, but then I decided it would be better to do it in two parts. Why? Well the first two books can easily be talked about without spoiling the others, but was it was hard to think about reviewing the last two books without spoiling the first two. So, here is the first half of a two part series review. If you haven’t read all of this series, you might want to skip the next post.
The first two books in the series happen at the same time. In other words, even though they have different characters for the most part and different plots, those plots are happening simultaneously. Much of what is happening in both books is mentioned or influences what is going on in the other. I hope this is all making sense. You could read either book first and not be at all confused, although it does make more sense to read Flamecaster first.
If you have not read the Seven Realms series, I think that is okay. You should though, as it does set up some of the background for the war and world. It is one of my favorite series of all times. But not having read it should not keep you from liking this one.
Except for that unforgivable, and yet understandable, death in the first chapter, I quite enjoyed this first book. In fact I think that this one is my favorite of the four. The plot was pretty intense and full of court intrigue and double dealings. I enjoyed all of the characters and revisiting a world that I loved from a previous series.
The book is mostly about Adrien sul’Han, aka Ash, and his need to avenge his sister’s and father’s deaths. He has spent the last four years at Oden’s Ford learning how to be a healer, but in reality he has become an assassin. He is also a wizard with a secret. I really like Ash, he reminds me a lot of his father who was the main character in the Seven Realms series. He is clever, fearless and has a strong conviction of what is right and wrong. He also is a very caring person, and will help anyone, even his enemies if they need it.
The other main character for this book is Jenna, who is also fierce and stands up for what is right. She is a mine worker, and she also has a secret. She is being hunted, but she doesn’t know by who or why. She only knows that it has to do with the mage mark on her neck. Jenna is my next favorite of the series. She was pretty fearless, and had to grow up quick in the mines controlled by her enemies.
We are also introduced to Destin Karn, Lila Barrowhill, and Evan Strangward. They all play a part to the overall plot of the series. I didn’t like Destin or Evan that much in this book. Lila was likable, but I was never quite sure whose side she was on.
The plot of this book was pretty intense. Ash and Jenna spend most of it in the hands of their enemies, and fighting for their lives and what they believe in. When they finally meet towards the end of the book, the attraction was instant and intense. The court and the war kept things moving along, but there were moments of fun. The ending was awesome and a long time coming.
As I mentioned before, this book has different characters and a different plot that is happening during the same time frame as the first book. This book is also pretty intense and hard to put down. I enjoyed it as much as the first book.
This book is about Alyssa ana’Raisa, Ash’s sister. She is a leader and pretty badass. She has been an officer in the Queen’s army since she was very young. She is a fierce warrior and a good strategist. She is feared by the enemy and is known as the Grey Wolf. She convinces the Queen to take to war to the enemy, invading their land instead of defending their own all of the time. She is loyal to her men and her friends and will do anything to win the war that has gone on for way too long.
Then there is Captain Hal Matelon, Alyssa’s enemy, who is captured by the Gray Wolf. I really like Hal, he is also a fierce fighter and will defend his kingdom, even when he doesn’t agree with his King’s decision. He comes from a culture quite different from Lys’s and he is awestruck by this woman who knows how to speak her mind and fights like a man. Hal is able to have debates with Lyss that helps him to understand that there is a better way to rule, and live than what he currently knows.
We are introduced to Breon, a musician with a special talent to persuade people to do what he wants. He is also mage marked like Jenna and is being hunted, though he doesn’t know it. Breon was an interesting character that I would have liked to see more of later in the series. He is quiet and shy, and in way over his head, but he grew up on the streets and knew how to survive.
The plot of this book was just as interesting as the first, and fast paced with lots of action and fighting scenes. The overall plot of the series begins to take form as well. It was fun to see some of the characters from the first series in this book as well. Mostly they were cameo appearances, but it is one of the things I liked about this book. The love interest was also well done between Hal and Lyss. I liked that even though they were enemies they grew to respect each other first.
Some final thoughts on these two books. Very well done and even though they are long, I was never bored. These were both rereads, and for the most part I listened to the audiobooks. The narrator Kim Mai Guest does an excellent job. This is some of the best high fantasy that I have read in a while. Love the world, love the writing and the characters.