The last book was full of a lot of set up for this one and now it is time to see if there is going to be a payoff. The title implies that Ty is going to be front and center since he is the one tasked to go on a typical fantasy RPG collection quest and assemble the four-part key in or to bring a mythical wizard's keep back into existence. Of course he has no idea how to do this, but he knows that he must accomplish it before the White Tower becomes unstoppable. Ty must travel from one land to another through a series of magical portals to find these key pieces, so the constant changes of scenery keep his adventure feeling fresh and unique every step of the way. Unfortunately the same is not true for the other PoV characters. Ferrin remains on the run after his escape from the White Tower and Ayrion still does not have his memories back, so in a way all three of them are dawdling around on side quests while the main storyline goes unpursued. Will that change before this one ends or is this even more set-up for the next book?
It turns out that becoming one of the most powerful people in New Atlantis isn't exactly what Rune St. John expected. So far its mostly been about pouring vast amounts of his hard won money into reclaiming Sun Estate. With only three adults, four teens, one ten year old, and a few employees its barely worthy of the word "court". Still, they are forcing Rune to actually hold audiences once a week where his friends rate his performance while settling differences between the gardeners and such. He really needs a Seneschal. Both Brand and Rune are therefore delighted when Lady Priestess has an emergency at her posh rejuvenation clinic. Someone, apparently an anonymous lady who was disappointed that the rejuve didn't work, went on a murderous rampage killing dozens. Alas, while Arcana might act in emergencies, Rune is dismayed to discover that Arcana aren't allowed to investigate things anymore. Oh well, back to planning his Coronation and playing with his arthritic dinosaur. Luckily, the murderous lady crashes his Coronation party and makes dramatic threats.
The last book, The White Tower, ended with each of the PoV characters in an interesting position, so I was eager to find out what was going to happen next. Ayrion, the King's Guardian Protector, was completely in limbo since the King was now dead and his memory was lost. Unfortunately that means that he would not be able to respond to the treachery that led to the king's downfall, at least for now. Ferrin the blacksmith became the first person to ever escape the dungeons of the White Tower, and that puts him on the run along with those that helped him. And finally, Ty has started coming into his power with revenge on his mind for the death of his mother, instead of the destiny he is supposed to fulfill. It was a good set-up for all of them, but since this is also the middle book of a trilogy that could also mean it was going to lead to a lot of filler.
The end of The Last Sun was action packed and hinted at several tantalizing secrets so the follow up entry could make or break the series. The Hanged Man not only fails to disappoint but focuses on the best elements of the first and builds on them. Before the fall of the Lovers' court Max Saint Valentine was contracted to marry Lord Hanged Man. Rune swore an oath to safely deliver Max to his day of majority, age 21 in New Atlantis, which means protecting the fifteen year old from the creepiest of the Arcana. Unfortunately, Lord Hanged Man is very old, very powerful, and has the law on his side. While searching for a legitimate reason to challenge the contract Rune is asked to help find the missing child believed to be abducted by the Hanged Man. Rune and his allies discover the darkest nature of the Arcana and a secret that threatens the fragile peace between New Atlantis and the humans. They have fought evil scions and a legendary lich but a hero can't force the Arcanum to act. It is time for Rune to take his rightful place as the Sun of Atlantis.
The revelation that Atlantis was real might have gone differently if humans hadn't realized that the Atlanteans were also manipulating the politics and economies of the rest of the world. Atlantis had powerful magics, including the godly Arcana with their strange Aspects, but humanity had armies, bombs, and fear on their side. By the time peace was negotiated the Island of Atlantis was uninhabitable, so part of the treaty included an island for them build New Atlantis. Not much else changed. The Arcana are still psychotic power hungry despots and Atlantis is still a dangerous place to live even for Atlanteans. The Arcana of Atlantis were the inspiration for the major arcana in a tarot deck but their Aspects may or may not be related to that concept. Lord Sun might become a ball of sunlight so bright it's literally blinding or appear as a man covered in flames. Lady Judgement on the other hand appears to be spider/woman hybrid descending from a web above the onlooker. It's a combination of personal power, self-awareness, and magical affinity.
On one side of the River the Sun rules the sky and the Lao people live in eternal summer while on the nothern side the Moon holds sway over the cold forests of the Ugaro tribes. At the end of Tuyo, book one of the series, both peoples fought together to bring down an evil sorcerer. Because the epic battle took place in the Winterlands the Lao too injured to travel back to the River remained with the local tribe who promised to care for them. Surgeon Dedicat Suelen decides he must go and save those soldiers from the healing of ignorant savages. Everyone tries to dissuade him. Surviving in the Winterlands is almost impossible for a young Lao, and Suelen is in his eighth decade. He doesn't speak the language and knows nothing of Ugaro customs. Worst of all he is a Dedicat, one who uses magic to heal and the Ugaro consider all magic to be sorcery and a death sentence. But as a Dedicat he has sworn to heal all those in need and believes he go even if it means his death.
Magic has been banished in the Five Kingdoms for a millennium, except for those in the White Tower. This place is no Hogwart's though, as the tower makes sure to round up anyone who is even loosely accused of using magic and then purges them of the ability. Supposedly the wielders that are purged of their powers are let go to live their lives, but the reality is that none of them are ever heard from again. In response to this existential threat, an underground of wielders has been built up over the years, and they do their best to keep their powers a secret. Some of their diverse powers are stronger than others, but in combination they are capable of some amazing things .This story is told through multiple PoV characters that are involved in this struggle in different ways: Ferrin, a wielder blacksmith who has been captured by the White Tower, Ty, a young boy who keeps his nascent power hidden, Valtor, the head of the White Tower, and Ayrion, the Guardian Protector of the King.
Each book in the Street Rats of Aramoor series has focused on a different tribe of kids, and this being the final book in the series means that it is time for Wildfire to be front and center. However, the title is also a bit misleading as 80% of the book has nothing to do with Wildfire and it isn't until the very end of the book that it does. The majority of the story follows Ayrion, and a group of Lancers, as they perform a secret mission for the King. They are tasked with rescuing an ambassador and his wife that are both being held hostage by the rival kingdom of Cylmar. This mission takes them on a long, dangerous journey that consumes the majority of the book and Wildfire is not involved in any way until the mission is over and Ayrion returns to Aramoor. That's unfortunate but this is still an entertaining story that marks the transition point from this prequel series over to Michael Wisehart's main series, The Aldoran Chronicles, where Ayrion is no longer a street rat.
Most people have to wait until they're seventeen to enlist in the military but due to the zombie apocalypse Faith and Sophia Smith find themselves officers at ages 13 and 15. As the Wolf Squadron fleet begins searching for the resources necessary to manufacture a vaccine for the zombie virus, both sisters discover that there is more to being an officer than shooting things. With an assault on Guantanamo Bay in the works and a mission that's literally from out of this world, it's time to move past the sibling rivalry and learn to work together. After two books of Smith vs Zombie mayhem, Ringo keeps the formula fresh by dividing the focus more evenly between Faith and Sophia and pushing the characters out of their comfort zones.
The newest installment in the Hell Divers series has the action spread across multiple locations: the Vanguard Islands, Panama, and Australia. Since King Xavier decided in the last book that the Vanguard Islands were dying, he has been dispersing his people to try to find a solution. He is hoping they will either find resources to help in the short term or a potential new home for the long term. The legend of the Coral Castle is mocked by many, but X thinks it is real and he plans to find the mythical sanctuary. In his mind, the only way to save humanity is the find a new home before the scarcity of life in the Vanguard Islands triggers a war, and the Coral Castle is the best lead he has for finding such a place. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees with him, and the various human factions are set to start that war as soon as he leaves to search for his fantasy home.