This is the sequel to Hero in a Halfling!
This book picks up about 4 months after the end of the last book, Epik is in training to be a knight, Myra and Girdy are adjusting to the fact that Myra is now a princess, and other POV’s are added to the story.
The city of Dune All-en comes under attack again, but it didn’t end up being a full-scale invasion like they were expecting. It turns out the force that’s charging the gates is actually from Eppimans father in Kingsway. Eppiman, the new king, has been running from his father and trying to lay low for a while, but his secret is out and his father wants him to bend the knee. Eppiman sends a delegation to Kingsway in an attempt to make peace, which includes also includes Epik, Girdy, and his daughter Myra to go visit The Grand Soveirgn.
The group heading to Kingsway all heard rumors of the city, that Kingsway is full of magic, and that The Grand Soveirgn rules with an iron fist. When they arrive, though, Kingsway seems normal and The Grand Soveirgn seems to be a nice person, giving his granddaughter gifts and being generally welcoming. Girdy isn’t falling for it though, she has a bad feeling about the whole thing and she sees things that Myra dismisses. Children are going missing all over the city, and she can’t get one of the mother’s pleas for help out of her head, so she tries to find some answers.
Epik is getting better and better at his magic as he learns to tap into his emotions. Magic is made possible partly by knowledge, partly by the soul, and mixing it together with emotions. Halflings, by their nature, are reserved and keep a thick wall between themselves and their emotions, which has been a big challenge for Epik learning how to wield magic. His first attempts at magic go poorly, he finds himself surrounded by the enemy and wants to create a fireball to ward them off, but all he manages is making them feel warm. He was trying to tap into his anger about deaths of loved ones he’s suffered through, but panic is a bad emotion to use for magic, and he ends up vanishing instead. Under the right tutalage, and using some wizarding books he’s found he’s able to gain a better understanding of magic and he really grows through the book.
There’s another plotline following an assistant of Eppimans who is trying to build a new kind of military fleet of flying ships. Eppiman knows that his father is unlikely to call off his assault on the city and that Dune All-en will have to find a way to defend itself soon.
Eppiman is right, The Grand Soveirgn tells Epik and his crew that there wasn’t anything they could have said or done to have changed his mind on their trip and he still plans to invade unless Eppiman bends the knee. Epik thinks on his feet and offers the bet-loving Soveirgn a challenge – if Epik wins a tournament than the Soveirgn has to call off the invasion… but if Epik loses he has to hand over his magic to the Soveirgn and the invasion will continue.
Overall, I feel like this was an improvement on the first book, the characters felt more fleshed out, especially Girdy who was more of a side character last time. I enjoyed her relationship with Myra even if I don’t totally understand what it is Girdy sees in her. Myra is a little too arrogant and air-heady for my tastes, but she does have her heart in the right place. Girdy is much more observant and has stronger critical thinking skills than her princess romance interest so I found myself drawn to her much more than Myra.
There was more to the plot in this book as well, there were more moving parts and a few twists that surprised me. It made the book feel more polished and made it feel like it had more substance to it than the first one. Many comedies use A to B to C plots with funny things happening along the way, and that’s fine, but I really like it when there’s a lot going on outside of jokes. I liked the fact that the references were toned down in this one, there are still lots of references in chapter titles, but there was less of it in the text which made it less distracting.
I enjoyed the expansion in the world building, I got to see a new city in the world and I feel like I have a better understanding of the magic system, and seeing more of the different races in the world was fun too.
The audiobook was also far better than the first, I liked listening to it much more than the first.
- multi pov
- non human povs – halfling, dwarf, elf
- lgbt relationships
- air ships
- jousting tournaments
- quick reads
- Plot: 12.5/15
- Charaters: 11.5/15
- World Building: 12/15
- Pacing: 12/15
- Writing: 12/15
- Originality: 13/15
- Personal Enjoyment: 8.25/10
Final Score: 81.25/100 or 4/5GR stars