By the end of book two, Dina and her Inn, Gertrude Hunt, had gained a big boost in power from the peace conference without losing their rating in the Directory. She was also now viewed favorably by three powerful races from our galaxy and owed a favor by the Arbitrator, George. She and Sean are starting to date again when she receives an urgent message from her sister Maud, who is in need of rescue. She also receives another request for help that will prove far more dangerous on behalf of the Hiru. The Hiru are nearly extinct because a neighboring race believes them to be demons so they have used the last of their resources to buy two answers from the all-knowing Archivarius. In return for Dina's help in transporting and protecting the Archivarius, the Hiru offer her the second question. Since their parents, along with their Inn, completely vanished a few years ago Dina and Maud are unable to resist investigating despite the strong danger Gerturde Hunt will face.
Innovation is all the rage in the Union as the next generation picks up the reins from their parents. Although some characters from the first two First Law series return, they are much older now since it is 28 years after the end of the first trilogy and the focus is squarely on their children. The Dogman's daughter, Rikke, is not a fighter like her father, but she is gifted with "the Long Eye" and can see the future. Jezal's son Orso has certainly inherited his father's penchant for women and wine and just like his father he is ill prepared to be the next ruler. And finally, Glokta's daughter Savine is making a name for herself as an investor with the cunning she has learned from her father. All three are PoV characters eager to take on the world, unfortunately for them they are unlucky enough to inhabit a Joe Abercrombie world so things aren't likely to turn out too well for them.
With the second book this series gets more serious, more entertaining, and just plain better. Since this series is a fairly unique blend of both fantasy and sci-fi its great to see both aspects gaining more depth. Galactic politics come into play as Dina is asked to host a peace conference for three factions fighting over a single unique planet. The first faction are the vampires of the Holy Anocracy and one of the attendees is Lord Arland who she met in Clean Sweep. She is also familiar with the Merchant Nuan Cee and his clan of the Lees. The third faction is the Hope Crushing Horde of the Otrokars who have often clashed with the vampires as the two empires are both aggressive and expansive. The last time an Arbitrator tried to broker peace between the Otrakars and the Vampires it ended in disaster and blood. But in addition to the boost Gertrude Hunt, the Inn, would get from forty guests staying several days the Arbitrator offers a large paycheck that Dina desperately needs. According to the Treaty visitors to Earth must not reveal themselves to humans and the primary responsibility of the Innkeeper is to keep their guests safe. Dina is about to have a really bad week.
For long time fans of this series Cast in Wisdom is a satisfying return to what made the early books great. Kaylin and her friends are back to investigating the problem of Ravellon, the ancient city overrun by the corrupt Shadows that simultaneously exists on all worlds. When a shadow escapes into the Fief of Candallar without triggering its protective Tower and the dragon Bellusdeo suggests they start their investigation by looking closely into the border zone between the towers. To Kaylin and the others what they find is a strange puzzle, but to the Arkon it is of great personal significance. So much so that he will risk everything, including his sanity, to solve it and if the eldest and most powerful of the Dragon Lords should lose his sanity....
What's worse than an undead army that is lead by a powerful Liche approaching your city with plans to destroy it? Of course it is an undead army with a Marketing department that is actively convincing your defenders to switch sides before the fighting even starts. This horror and more await Gorm Ingerson and his party of "heroes" who find themselves disgraced and on the run after the events of the first book. Gorm's group is struggling to survive yet still hoping to set things right with the orcs when the undead army starts to destroy city after city and alters their plans. Gorm must sort out how to get his dysfunctional group of adventurers ready for the challenges ahead as each party member is dealing with personal issues capable of unraveling the group at any moment.
Humorous books often fall flat for me but this time I must admit I often found myself chuckling quite a few times. Orconomics takes a look at the financial eco-system that fuels a world where being an adventurer is a standard career pursued by many and heading into a dungeon to slay monsters for loot is merely a job. Adventurers are common and all of them are part of the Heroes Guild where they can achieve levels when they are assigned points for killing foes. What is a foe? Well it is anything designated as such by the guild and quests are contracts that are funded by investors who are investing in the potential loot to be collected by killing those foes. This book takes a look at those in the background of this peculiar financial eco-system, and how they are manipulating things to their advantage, but the main stars are a party of down-on-their-luck adventurers caught up in the middle of these machinations.
Every year one or more of the twelve dragons of good fortune choose an apprentice dragoneye to serve them. Boys study the dragon magic, a combination of sword forms spellwork, for years hoping to be chosen. Eon has trained for years but in the standing before the dragons she risks her life because imperial law says that any woman using dragon magic will be put to death. She is literally handicapped in achieving her dream because Dragon Magic is heavily dependent on stylized sword work. The ceremony begins with the appearance of eleven spirit dragons but only Eon thinks she sees movement where the twelfth dragon once stood. The Mirror Dragon hasn't been seen in countless years and is nearly forgotten. Eon is stuck performing one of the most difficult of the Dragoneye sword forms and is certain that she failed to attract the dragons. But on the point of dismissal the Mirror Dragon appears briefly signaling its choice of Eon, then quickly fades away. In that brief contact Eon hears her true name, Eona, and discovers something long forgotten. The Mirror Dragon is female.
Nick is Nicholas Valiarde, a moderately wealthy gentleman who dabbles in the art trade and lives in an old mansion with his actress mistress. He is also Donatien, a notorious underworld crime boss who pulls off cunning heists while staying one step ahead of the law. Ironic, since he once attended the university and studied law. But all of that simply covers his real motivation, getting revenge on the nobleman who framed his adopted father for necromancy. Edward Valiarde wasn't even a sorcerer, but money convinced the police, magistrate, and jury that he was a necromancer. By coincidence Nick crosses paths with something that looks like real necromancy and before long he is reminded why it is punishable by death. Tracking this killer will see him working with the inspector who arrested Edward, trying to save the Queen, and using all his skill just to stay alive. But in the midst of all this death and mayhem can Nicholas finally get justice for his beloved father?
The Burning White is the long anticipated conclusion to the Lightbringer series and it is the longest book in the series by far. Brent Weeks brings all of the main characters back and he weaves the many threads of story together into one epic battle that determines the future of the Seven Satrapies. Then he tacks on three Epilogues and a "Postlude" just to make sure that he brings additional closure to some of the character arcs. That certainly has to be enough right? Nope, there is also a Shawarma scene available online which is intended to be read only AFTER you have read the book (link will be provided later.) This is all very welcome by me since I love closure, and I hate to be left hanging, but is the ending truly satisfying?
The Avatar race harnessed the power of the sun and channeled it into crystal powered weapons, ships, and even immortality. Their technology was a combination of science, mysticism, and music. Their greatest scholar, Questor Anu studied the legends of the Vagar people and predicted that their world was due for a mysterious cataclysm. Secure in their superiority his people discounted his warnings as madness but a few followed him and survived. As he predicted the Sun rose in the west, the seas tipped in their bowls, the magnetic poles of their world changed, and a second moon appeared in the sky. An ice age overtook their ruined cities and the surviving 500 Avatars struggled to hold on to their empire as their crystals slowly drained of power. Just as they are losing they are about to fall to the Vagar rebels a new foe appears, the armies of the Crystal Queen Ameiya. With a civilization to match the Avatars at the height of their power, they slaughter all who oppose them and drain sacrifices to feed Ameiya's endless hunger.