The second in Courtney Schafer's enchanting and engrossing Shattered Sigil fantasy series, The Tainted City follows familiar protagonists Dev and Kiran, now prisoners, through a complicated web of magical and political machinations, as they fight to save themselves and the people they love in an increasingly dangerous world....
Andy Caploe's deep, gruff voice, and dramatic performance enhance the tensions inherent in this action-packed audiobook; Caploe imbues the text with a serious, high-fantasy feel, deftly navigating through Schafer's skillfully constructed world. Listeners will find themselves swept away to a place - and a story - which feel foreign, and exciting, and very, very real.
Dev is a desperate man. After narrowly surviving a smuggling job gone wrong, he’s now a prisoner of the Alathian Council, held hostage to ensure his friend Kiran, former apprentice to one of the most ruthless mages alive, does their bidding.
But Kiran isn’t Dev’s only concern. Back in his home city of Ninavel, the child he once swore to protect faces a terrible fate if he can’t reach her in time, and the days are fast slipping away. So when the Council offers Dev freedom in exchange for his and Kiran’s assistance in a clandestine mission to Ninavel, he can’t refuse, no matter how much he distrusts their motives.
Once in Ninavel the mission proves more treacherous than even Dev could have imagined. Betrayed by allies, forced to aid their enemies, he and Kiran must confront the darkest truths of their pasts if they hope to save those they love and survive their return to the Tainted City.
©2012 Courtney Schafer (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
I found this to be a worthy follow-up to the Whitefire Crossing. Lots of interesting and not altogether predictable things happen and the characters continue to develop nicely. I was particularly fascinated with the interplay between Dev and Kiran in the later parts of the book, when they’ve got this barrier between them and yet they somehow remain connected. There were a couple of nice twists toward the end - I got a little worried about how she was going to resolve it but the ending quite pleased me and made me look forward to the next one. This book asks an interesting question: Are we the sum of our experiences or only the sum of our memories of our experiences? I’m looking forward to finding out how she will answer this in the third book.
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