It wasn’t all that long ago that I read the first book of this series, Edge of the Breach. I found that particular story to be really rather good, and if you don’t believe me just take a little lookie here.
When the first in a series is this great you often wonder whether the second will live up to it. Did the author exhaust all their ideas and talents into one story, or will they take their experiences from that opening tale and craft something even more masterful?
Well, yet again I have been blown away by Halo Scot. Yes, this sequel certainly delivers.
I find myself often saying I’m not really into fantasy novels – I don’t want to get tarred with the elves and pixies brush – but when the fantasy is this dark and depraved, how can I deny it?
Quick recap, and if you haven’t read the first book there may be some spoiler-ish moments here.
Sira Rune, Julian Kyder; these two are ice and fire really. Born at midnight on the solstices, giving them exceedingly powerful, erm, powers. In this world your birth season determines your power. Rune is a badass lady who loses her family before joining an inner-city gang where she just doesn’t give a shit.
Kyder is a kid born from nothing who moves to the big city and builds an empire, becoming the head of the biggest criminal gang there. He manipulates, tortures, and murders his way to the top. He’s a right nasty bastard, yet strangely endearing.
These two couldn’t be more different but their magical birth times entice them together with a mutual respect. I can’t say much more about the ending of this book for obvious reasons.
Anyway, in Echoes of Blood, our main two are living their separate lives many miles away from each other; like a long distance relationship without the phone calls and love letters. Rune is in military training for the war against the Gods while Kyder is continuing to keep things ticking over in the city by ruling with fear, and thus total respect.
The two pine for each other, yet each feels their love and devotion is only being projected one way. You know, like a romance film where you’re screaming at the TV ‘Just tell her how you feeeeel, you idiot!!’
Without giving too many plot points away, the two meet again. Their lives haven’t been too great since they moved on; Kyder’s inner demons are taking hold while Rune fears she’s lost everything and may never be the same again.
They just need each other to restore the balance. Their stories are expertly handled. Kyder’s descent into his own personal oblivion is painful and raw, while Rune’s is just really sad. She doesn’t seem to fit in with the others in her soldier training.
Kyder’s city of Zawad is ‘ruled’ by a vicious and evil government, though one that he has in his pocket and one he can manipulate to get the results he requires. But revolution is coming. A painstakingly meticulous plan is being formed where Kyder acts to take down the government and give the city back to its people.
That doesn’t sound so psychopathic now does it? And therein lies what makes this book so great. Our pair of protagonists develop so much during the tale, with each becoming more like the other, going against everything they believe in. It’s so entertaining to read they’re conversions to the dark/light side, and not once did I question their motives.
The revolution involves one big ass battle at the end where plenty of blood is spilled, and allegiances are tested. The first twist becomes kind of apparent before the big reveal and though I could see it coming, it made it no less enjoyable to witness.
But then we’re treated to the ultimate ‘wow’ twist at the very end of the story. I certainly didn’t see this one coming. This twist just screams ‘Noooo, when is book 3 coming out then???? Don’t make me wait!!!!’
This book and series is seriously awesome stuff; a grimdark masterclass. Check. Them. Out!!
Categories: book review