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.
Gertrude Hunt is a Bed & Breakfast Inn where the guests are out of this world. Literally. Local Earth space has an amazingly high number of warp points which almost led to an interstellar war for possession of the planet back when humans were still making war with swords and arrows. Even though humans were completely unaware of galactic civilizations it was still decided to declare Earth neutral territory and the Inns were established, which also happen to be sentient beings themselves. The rules are simple: any violent acts by a guest is cause for a lifetime ban from the Inns and attracting any attention from humans will result in a species wide ban depending on the severity of the incident.
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.
Ageless immortals, the Timeless are compelled by instinct to behead each other and absorb the loser's power. If this sounds familiar you've no doubt seen the Highlander. The Heartstrike Chronicle is unapologetic fanfic of the Highlander television series written by the bestselling author of Urban Shaman. There's the good natured immortal warrior, Irish in this case, and a woman who watches and reports on him to the Keepers. There is also an unbelievably ancient and powerful immortal, Lohren, who has largely passed unnoticed since the 11th century and is currently a Keeper named Logan Adams. Lohren is amused to hear that a woman claims to have found the ruins of Atlantis, but shocked to find that she is Ghean, the woman he loved and lost when that island sank. Its certainly not a happy reunion. She's definately crazy but if she takes Lohren's head it could be called justifiable homicide.