Ahoy there me mateys! This here be a combined review of the last two books in the Book of the Ancestor trilogy. While I try to post no spoilers, ye have been forewarned and continue at yer own peril . . .
I did read the last two books back to back. I really appreciated the synopsis recaps at the beginning of each book given that I read book one in the summer of 2017. I very quickly got back into the world and characters. Sadly the feeling I had when I was finished both books was meh. Here be why:
So book two picks up a handful of years after the events in book one. In this installment, Nona has entered into the Mystic Class training. She has a nemesis in another student who be determined to bring her down. Even though the issue of bullying in school has been done before, I really enjoyed this particular take and where it led to. And where it led was unexpected and fun. I loved the portion that takes place in the abbey. In addition, ye get Abbess Glass POV chapters and absolutely loved those. There was a fantastic new character named Keot that I kinda adored even if he was a jerk. I continued to love Kettle and Zole. The friendships in this book make me happy. It was also great to see that Nona has to struggle despite many of her talents. It is always nice to watch a character make mistakes and grow from them.
But while the beginning was excellent, the middle of the book really sagged for me plotwise. The change in setting rocked but the plot and action stalled. I thought the circumstances of the middle portion of the book were lackluster. Part of that was because of Nona’s limitations in that section. The POV changes were interesting but the whole section seemed choppy. Zole’s actions in particular were kinda silly and boring. An old character randomly makes an appearance to save the day and set up the next section. The threads of the story didn’t seemed to be tied together that well. I felt annoyed through most of this part of the book and kept wanting to put the book back down and not pick it up again. Abbess Glass’ sections kept me going.
In the third section of the book, the setting changes again and the book did get a lot better. I absolutely loved the politics and watching Glass manipulate things. The political fighting was the best part of this section and made me happy. I enjoyed the potential set ups for book three but the threads tied together did not help me appreciate the middle of the book any better. And while the politics were awesome, many of the fight scenes at the end were silly. I basically hated how Nona got everyone to safety. The sections about Glass being a badass saved this book for me. So I was looking forward to the last installment.
Book three started out very well. The book jumps forward in time and switches between the past (Zole and Nona on the run) and the present circumstances at the abbey and the gear up for war. I liked the beginning but once Nona finally becomes a nun, well, the book kinda went downhill for me. I thought all of the war politics and junk with the Emperor’s sister was lame. I didn’t like the big reveal of the plans of Glass. I absolutely hated the entire ending dealing with the moon. Also too much of the time between books two and three were told in throwaway lines about both deaths and romance. Umm what? I didn’t like the Zole sections (or what happened to her) and she used to be one of me favourite characters. I didn’t like Nona’s special snowflake evolution of her powers and how she manages to do the improbable again and again. I hated that Joeli comes back. A lot of the action and outcomes of the plot made no sense to me. The epilogue was dumb. And why did the Emperor never make an appearance? Seriously book two set up an interesting premise for how the politics were going to work out and book three tossed it all out. Basically the only part of this book that I adored was Sister Pan. She seriously rocks. The Moment with her saved the book from walking the plank.
Basically this went from a promising series to one I have to say I really didn’t like. Good moments existed and I don’t regret reading it. But book three kind of sucked. The good news is that I finished another series on me list. Arrrr!
Goodreads has this to say about book two:
In Mystic Class Nona Grey begins to learn the secrets of the universe. But so often even the deepest truths just make our choices harder. Before she leaves the Convent of Sweet Mercy Nona must choose her path and take the red of a Martial Sister, the grey of a Sister of Discretion, the blue of a Mystic Sister or the simple black of a Bride of the Ancestor and a life of prayer and service.
All that stands between her and these choices are the pride of a thwarted assassin, the ambition of a would-be empress wielding the Inquisition like a blade, and the vengeance of the empire’s richest lord.
As the world narrows around her, and her enemies attack her through the system she has sworn to, Nona must find her own path despite the competing pull of friendship, revenge, ambition, and loyalty.
And in all this only one thing is certain. There will be blood.
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