• The Lessons Never Learned

  • The War Eternal, Book 2
  • By: Rob J. Hayes
  • Narrated by: Moira Quirk
  • Length: 16 hrs and 24 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (116 ratings)

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The Lessons Never Learned  By  cover art

The Lessons Never Learned

By: Rob J. Hayes
Narrated by: Moira Quirk
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Publisher's summary

I am the weapon.

Eskara is free of the Pit, but far from safe. She is beset by the ghosts of those she has killed, and plagued by the ancient horror that possesses her. Enemies dog her heels, determined to see the last Orran Sourcerer dead. Worse still, there is new player in the game, one far more dangerous than anything she has faced before. 

But there is one place that might offer her both the safety she needs to survive, and the power she needs to strike back; Ro’shan, the flying home of a God. Eska will soon learn that all power comes with a cost, and some prices are too high.

©2020 Rob J. Hayes (P)2020 Podium Audio

What listeners say about The Lessons Never Learned

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

The darker side of grey

These anti hero type of stories tend to fluctuate up and down the spectrum of grey, with some actions seeming more justifiable than others. This sequel to Eskara's story definitely plumbs the depths of the darker side of grey. Though it is mostly do to the fact that unlike in the first book, her actions seem less like a person trying to survive and more like a person doing whatever she can to get more power. I found it less enjoyable than the first book. It didn't help that there were two things i didn't really understand. 1. For the greatest love Eskara has ever experienced, her relationship with Silver felt more like Eskara sleeping with her therapist more than anything. It didn't help that most of their interactions happened off screen and were just briefly mentioned afterward. Kind of have to show the chemistry if you want anyone to believe it. 2. I will try to be as vague as i can but fair warning MAJOR SPOILER. Eskara the woman who has vowed to destroy an entire empire for winning a war they did not start and sending her to get roughed up in a prison for legit war crimes, a woman who went on a massive killing spree in this because she thought her friends MIGHT be dead. The monster who claims she will do whatever it takes to keep those she loves safe, does absolutely nothing when she believes the most precious member of her party is killed by those she entrusted them to. Makes no sense whatsoever to me. Made even less sense that she would then go around doing errands for those people. It threw me badly enough that i had to take a break from the book for a few days so i would stop harping on it and pay attention to what was actually happening in the book. Maybe i am not understanding something but it was pretty bizarre and out of character for Eskara. Felt like the author just wanted to dump that plot point as quickly as possible or something. Beyond those two points the book was great, lot's of cool action, interesting lore to the world and it's people, and while not exactly an original concept the magic is fascinating. Also Saracus, just yes please. i will likely get the third book whenever it comes out on audible.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Quirk saves this for me

The story is good and I like the idea of a very unreliable narrator who throws her bias or knowledge in as she retells her own story years later. But sometimes it can get repetitive, even across multiple books. It’s like a big “she said, she exclaimed, she expressed” meme. If I was reading this I’m sure I would get frustrated with the little things that keep being repeated but Quirk’s performance keeps me coming back and allows me to tune out the parts I find annoying and really sucks me into the good parts, as there is plenty to love about this book too.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Stakes are raised, the scale is expanded, and...

Stakes are raised, the scale is expanded, and the worldbuilding continues to flourish in this brilliant epic adventure that follows Eska and company.

Plot: 4/5
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The Lessons Never Learned feels to have more of a wandering story as the main goal is to not get thrown back into the Pit. However, as the story goes on, more threads get picked up and a more focused plot appears. I had no issues with the early aimlessness as it felt natural to the story, but it definitely peaks with the back half when Eska’s goals become clear. The plot was engaging throughout, and though there were moments where things slowed down, they never became boring.

Characters: 5/5
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The story begins with the characters we left off with, and the cast grows to add a few more. Eska’s growth was phenomenal during this, we see her transition more into what she wants to become and she learns more about the world. Not much changes with the old cast, but the new cast adds plenty of depth to the characters and impressive relationships built between them.

There was a character moment with Eska that I did not like, and felt that it might be making an easy out for a situation, but I was foolish to think so and Rob changed my mind pretty quickly about it. The decision made sense for Eska, and the aftermath of it helped to add a lot more to the story than I was originally expecting.

Worldbuilding: 5/5
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Rob’s strengths for this series are still in the impressive worldbuilding for me. If book one introduced us to several ideas and gave us a hint of what’s to come, this book delves into all of that and adds so much more. We have improvements to the magic system (love those that come with Kinemancy), much more depth to the world and the other forces that exist within it, as well as a peak into the history as we learn more and more about the War Eternal. Overall, we see great depth added to an already expansive world.

Writing: 4/5
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The writing was still fantastic for the second book as it was in the first, and the pacing felt improved, as we saw plenty of action spaced out between relaxing moments to catch our breath. The prose worked well for the story, and I found the looks into the future to be less distracting and better handled this time around than in Along the Razor’s Edge.

Enjoyability: 5/5
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The story was filled with intense action using a fantastic magic system, and I enjoyed every bit of it. I had a blast with this story and Eska’s continued adventures, and felt that every aspect of Along the Razor’s Edge was improved with this book. The writing builds its strengths off of the fantastic character of Eska and some phenomenal, in depth worldbuilding. By the end of the book, I was actively finding time to listen to the story as it gripped me so much, and though I am taking a short break from the War Eternal, I know book three will be calling to me to return very soon.


OVERALL: 5/5 Sourceblades


Narration: 5/5
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Moira Quirk continues to be one of the best in the business, and her narration for Eska is phenomenal. This is definitely a case of Moira being able to enhance everything Rob does to only make the story better.

For more reviews, check out The Bountiful Bookshelf!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Damn good

Good story, great characters and an incredibly vibrant and intriguing world with an ancient past shrouded in mystery, what more could you want?

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  • Alan
  • 04-21-23

I Am The Weapon.

Boom, out of the darkness and into the light, I am the weapon. Absolutely fantastic, Rob J. Hayes continues this brilliant dark tale, and it goes from strength to strength. The Lessons Never Learned is book two of the War Eternal trilogy that began with the amazing book one Along the Razor’s Edge. This novel is fast-paced and action-packed with just as much excitement, surprises, and twists as the first, moving out from the very dark underground setting we experienced for most of the first book. We get to see the world from above, somewhat literally as Eskara and her companions look down from the floating city of Ro’shan. I absolutely loved the world building. Eskara's growth throughout is phenomenal. She is a very different person, although as ruthless as ever. In this book, Eskara is free, but her enemies are not far behind. A darkness pulsates from within her, and nightmares plague her dreams. We explore amazing new cities and get to discover the history of the world and its gods. Eskara and her companions see the carnage and damage as entire cities are left to rot and left behind by the war. We slowly get the truth about magic and monsters, and not all is as it seems. Now, for the third book, From Cold Ashes Risen, if you love your fantasy dark and grim, or some good oul storytelling at its finest, then look no further. I very highly recommend...😁🖤🔥🗡💥

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  • Natasha
  • 02-28-23

Blown Away

This book truly blew me away. I was left an anxious mess throughout but couldn't stop listening. I was very interested in the great world seeing as it was limited in the first book, and Rob J. Hayes does a wonderful job in bringing the world and its inhabitants to life.
Quite a few times I found myself stopping and going back to listen to parts again to truly appreciate the beautiful wording. it might sound dumb but I was often in awe of some rather elegantly structured sentences and paragraphs.

If you are reading this then you have most likely read the first book in the series. This book takes you on a wild ride you most likely weren't expecting it to. There is so much attention to detail with the world, races, and lore that the world builds up so easily. I would highly recommend this book.

If Rob J. Hayes wasn't already your favourite author, then this book will change your mind!

The narration was top class. Moira is super talented. She really manages to give each character a unique voice, much better than I would have if reading it.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Dana
  • 01-20-23

Oh Eska, I both love AND hate you

Top notch performance from Moira Quirk, I freaking love all the heartfelt F-words.

There is a LOT of internal monologue, so you'll have to make your peace with that if you truly want to enjoy this book.

Eska is a character that is too kick-ass for me not to admire... She also makes decisions that I find quite unfathomable and disappointing, so my love for her is not entirely comfortable.

Overall a great book, but man, it is quite depressing watching Eska stumbling through one tragic situation after another. So mad about a certain fate befalling a certain someone 😭

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  • Mugwump
  • 06-12-22

imaginative fun

brilliant narration bring this complex rip-roaring tale to life. Some of the underlying text style gets a bit repetitive ( our hero" must admit" a lot of things for example) but it's still a great listen.

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  • Angry Cumbrian
  • 07-23-21

Top Notch Production

** spoiler alert ** 4.25* Ebook
5* Audiobook

As with the first book I preferred the audio format over the ebook, and was a top-notch production.

If anything I preferred the story in book 1 over this novel, but the writing this time around feels tighter.

What is surprising is how Eska ends up more tortured by the end of this book, compared to the events in escaping the pit. Her fate undulates between deities, instead of secular forces. Happiness, sadness, servitude, joy and wrenching loss squirm around Eska and her choices, as revenge evolves into power to enact said revenge, before surprise and inevitable betrayal occur.

New and old faces, mix with a new worldscape as Eska develops and enacts a new fate without giving too much away. Creative, detailed and violent events, lead to new technologies that flow naturally with hard-earned lessons and survival, with no punches being pulled. I look forward to rounding the audiobooks off in the next week.

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  • Jordy
  • 07-31-23

loved it!

I enjoyed this book much more than the first. the magic system is so interesting

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  • Nicolle Keerie
  • 06-26-23

Epic!

Love the pace and the characters. The magic style concept is interesting and looking forward to listening more.

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