Ahoy there me mateys! Aye, this is a review of a book two where I will try to post no spoilers but read at yer own peril. But this is also a reflection of what me foray into the works of Elizabeth Bear has been like since reading the first book of the Lotus Kingdom series.
The first book I read by the author was karen memory way back in the days before I had a blog. I loved that and so requested the stone in the skull from Macmillian-Tor/Forge and luckily got an eArc from the publisher. As I said about book one: “The beginning was an explosive entry into the world and while the pace slowed a little after that, I was obviously engrossed. The world building is fantastic, the characters are extremely diverse, and I couldn’t guess many of the plot twists. The relationships between characters stood out for me and I loved getting further hints into backstories and motivations as I read.”
That review was from 10/9/17. The only problem after reading book one was the long wait until book two. So I went looking for Bear’s other works to read during the waiting period. Between reading the stone in the skull books one and two, I have read five other books by the author. Reviews are linked below. But I want to focus on the Eternal Sky trilogy.
Ye see, this Lotus Kingdoms series is set in the same world as the Eternal Sky trilogy. Only I somehow missed that completely until this latest book. Having read the original trilogy completely enriched me reading the second book of the newer related series. Both trilogies are meant to stand independently. But I be very glad to have gotten the back story of the Steles of the Sky kingdom before returning to the Lotus Kingdom.
Part of this stems from a couple of characters that were featured in original trilogy and then make smaller appearances here. I not only loved seeing them again but I understood how they had ended up in the Lotus Kingdoms. In the cases of the wizards in particular, I knew how their magic worked. Those details were glossed over when dealing with the Lotus Kingdoms in the first book. But the major part stemmed from the fact that the world felt much more real to me having read the others. I think in having read so many of Bear’s other books, I have a much better understanding of her style and particularities.
I was worried when getting to the red-stained wings that I would have a problem with remembering the details because of the time between books one and two. Not a problem at all. I was quickly sucked back into the drama and politics of the Lotus Kingdoms. The Gage and the Dead Man continued to be favourites and are in fact the highlights of the book. I say this even though there be many strong female characters throughout. And there be a dragon! This was a strong middle book that kept me attention from start to finish. The only small problem I had was how long it took the traitor on the Queen’s court to be discovered. It was obvious in this book from very close to the beginning but wasn’t resolved until the very end. That small irk aside, I cannot wait for the final book in this trilogy. Arrrr!
Goodreads’ website has this to say about the novel:
The Gage and the Dead Man brought a message from the greatest wizard of Messaline to the ruling queen of Sarathai, one of the Lotus Kingdoms. But the message was a riddle, and the Lotus Kingdoms are at war.
Elizabeth Bear created her secondary world of the Eternal Sky in her highly praised novel The Range of Ghosts and its sequels. She continued it the first book of the Lotus Kingdoms, The Stone in the Skull.
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Previous Log Entries for this Author
the stone in the skull – book 1 (On the Horizon – Fantasy eArc)
stone mad – book 2 (Dry Dock)
range of ghosts- book 1 (Captain’s Log – Fantasy)
shattered pillars – Book 2 (Captain’s Log – Fantasy)
steles of the sky – Book 3 (Captain’s Log – Fantasy)
ancestral night – Book 1 (Captain’s Log – Sci-Fi)