If you haven’t read the Kingshold by DP Woolliscroft I would CLICK HERE for the review of that book since it’s the first of the series. It’s an intricately told political story about what happens when a monarchy falls and a society holds its first elections. There will be spoilers for that book if you continue on with this review.
There is no big time gap between the first book and the last book and things pick up more or less where they left off with Mareth being the Lord Protector of the realm despite his hesitations. He told everyone he wouldn’t be right for the job, and I’m glad he didn’t just sink into it with no problems. Things were complicated, he didn’t enjoy many aspects of the work or lifestyle, and was fumbling a bit. I do like the romance that was continued between him and Petra, it’s a nice side story that rounds out his character. Things are complicated and it’s not just invaders he has to worry about, but also the lack of food and general instability that follows a huge change in social structure and government upheaval. It’s intricate, well-plotted, thoroughly thought out and engaging.
Neenahwi at the beginning is advising a captain about battle tactics as they are being bombarded by strange fire-breathing ships and they take heavy casualties. She’s trying her best to keep things together since Jyuth left.
Alana is off to be an ambassador to the city of Ioth, she’s supposed to be a merchant consultant and convince people to buy and trade with Edland. He thinks that Petra would be better suited for the job, but doesn’t want to send her away so he keeps her with him in Kingshold.
I continue to love the characters like I did in the last book with the benefit of already knowing them and able to jump right into the story fully invested in their success. It’s incredibly refreshing to have a group of characters that I love for different reasons. They are all generally good people without going too far into the Noble Bright category and ending up too saccharine or unbelievable. They all have their flaws but they are relatable and easy to root for. I also felt like the secondary characters started to take on lives of their own as we get small snapshots into their lives, too. To make a book feel completely well-rounded everything has to be developed and feel like there’s a depth beyond what you’re reading, and I feel like that was accomplished here.
I was impressed with the world-building in the first book, but I’ve been increasingly impressed with the second installation of the Wildfire Cycle. Adding more cities and more players into an already complex plotline was a risky move but it paid off, creating an enormous world that felt like a living breathing place.
TLDR: This was a worthy second in a series that added even more intricacy, complexity, nuance, and depth to the characters and world. If you liked the first one you should absolutely pick up the second one! Great audio!
- Plot: 13.5/15
- Characters: 13.5/15
- World Building: 14/15
- Writing: 13/15
- Pacing: 12.25/15
- Originality: 12.75/15
- Personal Enjoyment: 9/10
Final Score: 88/100 or 5/5 on Goodreads!