- Published in 2017 by Tor.com
- Format: Audiobook
- Narrator: Nancy Wu
- Listening Speed: 1.25x
- Listening time: 3 puzzling days
- Entering this as part of GirlXOXO’s Monthly Motifs Reading Challenge and because this has been on my TBR since I read The Black Tides of Heaven.
- Now following Mokoya, who was one of the main characters of the previous book. This is set some years afterwards and follows Mokoya as she hunts naga, destructive dragon-like monsters, in an effort to avoid facing the tragic events of the past and the loss of her gift of prophecy. After several years of drifting, not much caring for her own safety, she begins the hunt for a naga rumoured to be bigger than any she hunted before. On her hunt, she meets Rider, a mysterious character who can wield slackcraft (this world’s magic system) in ways Mokoya never imagined. She doesn’t know if she can trust Rider but she does know that there is a powerful force controlling this naga and she cannot allow it to fly free to destroy the city of Bataanar.
- Totally disoriented straight away as there’s not a lot of page space devoted to recapping the events of the previous book or getting you up to speed on the factions at play. You definitely need to have read the first book beforehand and, if you have read it, you’ll need to have read it recently so everything’s fresh in your mind. I got the first three books in an omnibus on Audible so I might just do that. That said, the audiobook is not the best way to get into this. Reading the physical copy is better in my opinion.
- A good bit of world building on the naga and a bit on the strange new ways of using slackcraft but, again, you do have to read the first book beforehand to have a good understanding of it. Since I’ve read the previous book ages ago, I was getting completely lost in all the terminology.
- Never quite sure who we can trust as the mystery and intrigue goes deeper. Suspicion falls on one character and then on another in rapid succession. The revelation of the real culprit and their reasons is shocking when it does eventually arrive.
- Getting me through the very confusing plot is Mokoya. Driving the plot is her grief and trauma over the loss of someone dear to her in the previous book. Both are done extremely well. She suffers from flashbacks, finds it hard to trust and reconnect to her loved ones, constantly blames herself for what happened and, at times, wonders whether there is any point in living anymore. After all, even if she did get her prophetic visions back, she can’t change the future. Or can she?
- Like the character of Rider. They are certainly a source of mystery and, like Mokoya, the reader will be fascinated with them but unsure if they are to be trusted. They have great power but very little is revealed about them until much later. The character of Wangbeng is intriguing too and there’s a lot more to her than appears at first glance.
- Excellent diversity, of course. Rider is gender-neutral and, in this universe, all decide their gender later in life, including Mokoya. All portrayals are done very positively too.
- Definitely surprised that it ended so happily but I’m pleased all the same. I think I really need to go back and read Black Tides of Heaven now before I go on to the third book.
Goodreads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
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