****Warning: Small Spoilers for Lion of Senet*****
I’m not exactly sure what it is about the writing in this book but it just grips me so hard. There is just enough angst, just enough politicking, just enough secrets, just enough danger and just enough romance that I get completely sucked in. It was so hard for me to ever find a good stopping point because I just wanted to read and read and read until I knew all the things.
This is one of the few fantasies I’ve read where there is no magic, none, at all. And still I’m totally wrapped up in this story reading furiously ahead to see when the next shoe is going to drop, who will get the better of who and how will the characters I like fair after all of this. It doesn’t look like there will be many HEAs to dole out by the end of this but I am hoping for one or to at least.
❀❀❀Most Improved Character: ❀❀❀
Oh for me this is Alenor hands down. I liked our little princess in the first book. I mean how could you not like the Princess being raised by her mother’s enemy and using that upbringing as a way to make sure she learned as much as she could about the man that would someday be her adversary. I respected the role she played in the last book but she was still just a besotted girl in love with a boy who might like her but was not in love with her and would tie Alenor to her Enemy.
Well in this book the blinders come off. No more begin completely head over heels in love with someone who doesn’t love you back and letting him do whatever he wants. No more making excuses for him. No more pretending that he will love you eventually. No Alenor has grown out of that and sees the man she will marry for exactly what he is and she has decided on a clear line and will not bend. I applaud her and how she finally stood up for herself in this book.
Dirk I loved all the time. You know he has a plan but to go up against a religion, an empire and a way of life is hard and for his plan to work it seems he has to go it pretty alone. I felt bad for him knowing that there really wasn’t anyone he could confide in and that essentially he is on his own to change the way of the world. Johan tried to do it with a revolution and failed. Dirk means to do it much more subtly.
***Why didn’t you figure out how to do it?” Dirk asked him, a little peeved by Neris’s patronizing tone. The madman shrugged. “Not my area of expertise, I’m afraid. Ask me how much the world weighs and I’ll figure it out for you, Dirk, but to destroy a whole religion ... that takes a special sort of skill that I don’t have. It takes political cunning, not mathematical ability. And nerves of solid steel,”***
Good luck Dirk you are going to need it since you seem to have enemies on every side of you.
Tia, well Tia grew on me a little. That girl is a broken mess in a lot of ways and while I’m not sure how she will recover from the events of this book short of killing a lot of people I hope she finds some solace and learns the truths that we the reader know be she does not.
No one can hold a grudge like Tia and it seems that even after a few years she still holds a huge one against Dirk for his part in Johan’s death. I liked how Lexxie came to point out that even our heroes are just people with flaws just like everyone else and shouldn’t be placed so high on a pedestal.
***“You remember Johan as a hero,” Porl remarked. Lexie nodded in agreement. “You never saw the man, Tia, only the tragic figure of a deposed king who was robbed of his kingdom by an evil warlord.”
“But that’s exactly what happened ...”
“In your mind, certainly,” Lexie agreed. “But you weren’t there. The fact is Johan lost Dhevyn because he invited Antonov in. Worse than that, he begged the Lion of Senet for help, and he allowed the true love of his life—”
“He loved you, Lexie!”
“Johan loved Morna, Tia, more than you will ever understand, unless you’ve loved someone the same way. Johan and I came together for comfort as much as love, and we were happy enough together, but his last thoughts were of Morna, not me.”
“No, let me finish. Johan allowed the love of his life to marry the man Antonov chose because he was too afraid to deny him.”
“Johan wasn’t afraid of anything!” she declared hotly.
“Don’t be ridiculous, Tia. Johan was as full of fear as any other man. Why do you think he never tried to take Dhevyn back? The Johan you have built up in your mind is ten feet tall and made of solid gold. The real Johan was a thoughtful man, a cautious man, and one who spent his entire life paying for his mistakes.***
Sometimes it seems our heroes must fall for us to be able to grow and move on.
As much as there are other villains in this book and there are a few, I hate Marquel as much if not more than Cersie Lanaster. I didn’t think I had more character hate in me and then she did what she did in this book and I’m ready for her to die the death of a thousand papercuts. She is so selfish, vile and rotten to the core. I hate everything about her and I really hope she gets her just deserts in the next book.