Sunday, 28 October 2018

Retribution by Jennifer Fallon

Retribution by Jennifer Fallon is the second book in the War of the Gods trilogy, preceded by The Lyre Thief which I have also read and reviewed. As you might guess from the series title, this is a big fat fantasy book. And, being the second in the series, is not a good place to start reading. I definitely recommend starting with The Lyre Thief, or even the earlier two series: The Hythrun Chronicles and the Demon Child Trilogy.

Since fleeing Winternest to avoid King Hablet's wrath when he discovers the truth about her parentage, leaving her slave, Charisee, to take her place, Rakaia has been on quite an adventure. She has met the demon child, traveled the continent with the charming minstrel, Mica the Magnificent, enjoying more freedom than she ever imagined trapped in the harem in Talabar.

But her freedom has come at a cost. Mica has committed an unthinkable crime, worse even, than stealing the golden lyre, and she is now his unwilling accomplice, sailing the high seas on a Tri-lander pirate ship, doing everything she can to avoid upsetting the man she once thought she loved, but has now realised is quite insane.

Meanwhile, Charisee, still pretending to be Rakaia, is trying to make the best of her new life as the Lady of Highcastle. But Rakaia's past will catch up with her, even as her own lies are in danger of being exposed.

As Adrina struggles to hold Hythria together, and Marla tries to deal with the fallout from the shocking events that take place in the Citadel during the treaty negotiations, Wrayan Lightfinger and the apprentice sorcerer, Julika Hawksword, must travel to Sanctuary to find out why the fortress is back. What they will discover is shocking and will affect the entire world, even though they don't realize it.

I have been a fan of Fallon's writing for many years now (much longer than this blog has been in existence) and this latest instalment set in her longest-running universe does not disappoint. Fallon continues to masterfully connect the plot threads of many characters in ways that feel organic rather than contrived. There's a lot going on in this book and each set of characters have their own motivations for following their own paths. To the point where events that are genuinely coincidental (from the reader's relatively omniscient perspective) seems suspicious to characters inside the story.

The complexity of the intertwining storylines is something I have always enjoyed in Fallon's writing. Retribution picks up the same groups of characters that we came to know in The Lyre Thief and continues their stories. I would not expect this book to make sense without having read the previous volume. I imagine that having read the earlier series is also helpful since there are some references to earlier events and some minor characters in Retribution who were central to the stories in the Demon Child Trilogy and/or the Hythrun Chronicles. Although The War of the Gods is a separate series it is also a continuation of ideas and characters introduced earlier.

I really enjoyed Retribution and am looking forward to the next book in the series (although I fear it will be a longer wait than I would like). I recommend this series to fans of intrigue and fantasy books with large casts of characters. And especially to fans of Fallon's earlier works, especially the two series set in the same universe.

4.5 / 5 stars

First published: 2017, HarperVoyager
Series: War of the Gods, book 2 of 3
Format read: eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

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