Palom – L.L. McNeil

*I received a free copy of this book, with thanks to the author. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*

Blurb: ‘Now the fighting’s over, you want to pick up where we left off? How? Everything’s changed.’

Linaria’s cities lie in ruin and her lands are scarred following Aciel’s war. The devastation worsens as dragons turn against the survivors in retribution for Aciel slaying their kin and stealing their power.

As the world attempts to recover from one global war and arm itself against another, Palom, hero and creator of the dragon-forged weapons that thwarted Aciel, flees across the Val Sharis wilds to rid himself of unwanted fame.

Overwhelmed by guilt for failing to protect loved ones, his greatest threat is not just the weapons he created, but the new shadow growing over Linaria.

Discover new friends and rejoin old ones in World of Linaria – Book Two.

Palom is the second novel in an epic six-book saga, following a group of characters as war rages across their world. With pirates and soldiers, smiths and princes, Linaria is a vibrant land with a deeply unsettled past and an equally uncertain future.

Palom is the second book in the World of Linaria series, and if you haven’t already read Moroda I really recommend doing that first, as it not only sets up the world and characters, but begins a main storyline that is continued here.

We already met Palom in Moroda – the strong, quiet blacksmith Ittallan who, with his friend and companion Anahrik, joined Moroda’s crew of misfit adventurers to defeat Aciel’s rampaging Arillian army. We join him immediately after the events of that book concluded and find him drowning in grief, guilt and self-pity, and highly resistant to taking any further action for fear of the resultant consequences.

Meanwhile, Amarah and Kohl have formed an unlikely pairing as they head to his mysterious homeland to search for a way to help Moroda; Morgen has returned to Niversai and the Imperial Guard, but with his eyes opened as to a bigger picture; and Sapora and Princess Isa have taken on responsibilities in the capital, but with very different goals and motivations. Rather than all working towards a common aim or against a common foe, everyone is now focused more on their own concerns, which do intersect at points but mostly keep them separately engages.

Most of the character arcs in this instalment involve searching for something or someone – redemption, revenge, power, familial love – with the notable exception of Palom, who spends most of the story running from himself and his past.

Similarly to the last book, this story is very much character driven, and without a unified goal for the group this time, it did feel a little slow and scattered in places, and Palom’s internal flagellation got a little tiresome. It was fascinating to see events from his very different perspective, but his inner struggles prevented him from being a very active main character in his own story. Still, Sapora, Amorah and Kohl kept pushing forward (if in different directions!) and it was really good to see Isa come into her own a little more as she tries to find a balance between loyalty to her brother, her people, and her own convictions.

The book ends on a cliffhanger, again, with all of the characters on their way towards their individual goals, having learnt and developed on their journeys so far. The next book features Amarah as the main character, and I look forward to the stubborn determination and world-weary humour she brings to proceedings!

He had killed people before, but only in self-defence. Last night seemed different. Had he really enjoyed watching the Varkain suffer?
Had the war changed him so much?
Lathri’s voice rang in his mind. ‘Emonos.’
He ignored it.
The sword had saved their lives. How could such a weapon be evil? It was just a sword—a piece of metal. It couldn’t be good or evil. It just was.
Palom rubbed his nose. Emotions coursed through him: sadness, guilt, loss, rage, even hatred. He told himself he felt these things towards Aciel and his war, losing his companions, losing Lathri, and to the Varkain who dared attack him… but deep down, they were emotions he felt towards himself.

– L.L. McNeil, Palom
Moroda 16468949

Find more from L.L. McNeil at her website here, or follow her on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Goodreads.

Palom is available on Amazon right now and you can find my review of Moroda (Book 1) here.

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