Michael J. Sullivan is a trusted name in high fantasy. His stories are always filled with compelling plots, great character dynamics, and overall an enjoyable reading experience.
Like all fans of his work, I wasn’t sure about leaving behind Royce and Hadrian, the iconic duo that we followed through his bibliography. But this new series hasn’t disappointed.
Following a less developed society, we see how human nature leads to downfall and survival. Alliances, betrayals, and politics are at the forefront of these characters agendas. Sullivan has a way of creating communities. His cast of characters always feels like a family. There’s the quirky relative in Suri who doesn’t need anyone to fully understand her logic to communicate and get things done. She went through some emotional struggles in this installment and we see her character grow.
Moya is the feisty and confident older sister who is unapologetically herself. I can’t help but admire characters like this as it is important for young female readers to be exposed to female characters who know their worth without having to fall in love and have it gratified by someone else.
I wasn’t a fan of Persephone in the first book. It felt like she was a bit of an oxymoron. She didn’t feel she was a leader but she took over anyway. She was quite bland compared to characters like Moya and Suri yet she gained the most admiration. The superiority in modesty is a trope I rarely enjoy in any literary genre. But seeing her development in the second book made me warm to her. However, I’m not a fan of her dangling hope for Raithe because she sees the value in keeping him around.
Roan was another character who grew in the second book. I think her situation is something we don’t explore or validate much. She escaped an abusive relationship because the other person died. She was not recused or left on her own. She was freed when she was still fragile and hadn’t gained strength herself. Her confidence grew as she got to work and found her value, helping those she loved with her skills.
The stubborn Dyrean is one of my favorite characters. He’s pessimistic, stubborn and hopeless at times but the other parts of his personality that are slowly drawn out through his interactions with Malcolm and Tesh show him in a different light.
I’m eager to see where the two narratives will lead and possibly crossover as the series progresses.