*I received a free copy of this book with thanks to the author and Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources blog tours. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: Aereon has found the Creators.
He’s crossed seas and mountain ranges to reach them, tangled with dwarves and ogres along the way, escaped the clutches of an icicle wielding irate yeti to rescue them and now they tell him that they weren’t in any great need of help.
A revolution has sparked in the realm of Hudikvar, because of something things Aereon might have said to a troop of homeless youths. Now, King Victarian is after Aereon and anyone associated with him.
Local woodsman, Lars, has agreed to help them flee and be their guide through Oak’s Wood, but even he cannot guess what lies in wait for them within. Not now the Lord of the Primes is about to wake.
‘He’s got a touch of destiny about him, that one,’ said the Dealer.
‘Aye. He’s got a date with her, I’d say,’ said the Trickster.
‘And she’s ordered the lobster,’ said the Teller.
The first book in this series was really good. This one is even better! But I do strongly recommend you read Divine Invention first as some things just won’t make much sense here if you don’t; little things like Lirna’s sock, Tingo, the nail varnish recipe and the goblin tooth. It won’t effect your understanding of the overall plot to leap straight in here, but you would miss so many little in-jokes and clever references!
And this second book is packed with them too. The writing style and humour have both evened, smoothed, matured since the first instalment. The comedy has more subtlety and less slapstick, and the characters are developing in complex and unexpected ways. It feels that the author has built a feeling of kinship with his readers and offers them various nods and winks along the way by way of recognising that bond (for example, Edin and Koel’s incarceration observation).
The characters are genuinely compelling. Not only am I now irrevocably hooked on the annoying yet heroic-ish Aereon’s exploits, but I also need to know what happens to Edin and Koel, Silvor and Volris, Lars, Rorj, Morj, Olle and the rest of the Greased Elbows… never have I been so invested in so many characters all at the same time!
I confess to having no idea where the plot will head next, but I would happily follow these characters regardless. If you love comic fantasy with some real depth to the characters and underlying issues (*cough* Discworld *cough*) then you will enjoy The Hero’s Arc series as much as I am.¹
Amber ran her finger over his temple. ‘All that stuff you have to think about. It’s wearing you out.’
‘All for a few extra pennies every week.’
‘Well I’m glad someone is thinking about it. You just need to find a way of getting yourself a little stress relief.’ Amber gave him a look and bit her lip.
Morj raised his eyebrows at her. ‘We haven’t done that in a long time.’
‘We’ll take it nice and slow then. I’ll walk you through all the steps. You were never very good anyway.’
‘I wasn’t that bad!’ Morj protested. ‘Alright, fine. You’re on.’
Amber felt under the table and pulled out her copy of Karplaw. ‘Who would you like to be?’
– Linden Forster, The Greenmen
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