OK, so there’s this jaded ex mercenary with a terrifying reputation, her drug addicted sister, her beloved who reluctantly finds himself half-way to godhood, an ancient priestess with nefarious plans for a land that is desperate for peace, and an ex-slave who is now a king, It’s the third book of a trilogy, there’s a nasty plague that seems to turn everyone into blood crazed zombies, flying steeds that aren’t quite dragons, magic swords, a prophecy (there has to be a prophecy), and a magic potion. And teleportation.
This pot has been simmering now for two books, and in Strife’s Bane it bubbles over. It’s an ambitious mix with a lot of characters and a lot of sub plots. The scale of the story is dealt with by changes in perspective that can be confusing – I struggled at times to differentiate between two red headed love interest characters. Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed the romp, and lost my heart to the book when the young king restrained his general from punishing insubordination from a subject by reminding him that the rule of law has to protect and punish everyone equally – if punishment can be handed out on a whim, nobody can ever feel safe. These days, that strikes home hard.
Strife’s Bane has a cast of likeable characters, and ties up the Shattered Kingdoms trilogy nicely. It presents a very 21st century take on the fantasy novel and I enjoyed it a lot.
Thank you to Jo Fletcher Books for the review copy.