on April 14, 2015
Also in this series: Age of Iron
The second book in Angus Watson's epic Iron Age fantasy trilogy. LEADERS ARE FORGED IN THE FIRES OF WAR Iron Age warriors Dug and Lowa captured Maidun castle and freed its slaves. But now they must defend it. A Roman invasion is coming from Gaul, but rather than uniting to defend their home, the British tribes go to battle with each other -- and see Maidun as an easy target. Meanwhile, Lowa's spies infiltrate Gaul, discovering the Romans have recruited British druids. And Maidunite Ragnall finds his loyalties torn when he meets Rome's charismatic general, Julius Caesar. War is coming. Who will pay its price?
I’m going to be honest, this is a very hard review to write. I make an effort to keep everything spoiler free, and so generally don’t talk much about the ending other than liked it, didn’t like it, etc. Well, I’m going to stick with my spoiler free approach, but my problem is that this book did something completely unexpected and it’s all I can think of! It is not a crazy out of left field thing, it actually makes sense now that it’s happened and I read it, but at the same time I did not see it coming. At all. And it leaves me with less of an idea for where the third book may go. It has literally eclipsed almost every other thought I have had about this book. Luckily almost is not completely, so I will do my best 🙂
First, I don’t know how or why, but I completely forgot just how incredibly funny Age of Iron could be at times. This book quickly reminded me as it had me laughing out loud (literally) within the first 30 minutes of reading. I really enjoy how the humor (dark, snarky, sarcastic all the delicious flavors of funny) in this balances everything else because the book can be just down right brutal. There’s a war, and with that comes battles, blood, gore and Watson does not trivialize war or protect the reader from its realities. Without the the comic relief, this would be one hell of a dark series.
Lowa is now Queen of Maidun and I have to take a minute to talk about the amazing female characters in this series. They really are equals, Lowa is ruling Maidun, and other females characters are also included as solid characters that stand on their own. They are not just there to support the men as they get things done. The women are valuable contributors in everything. Spring continues to be a fascinating character. I think I would read a series just about her. And Dug, the lovable old lug of a soldier. These are the three main characters from Age of Iron and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting up with them again. Ragnall is also give a POV in this. His story line was interesting and provided us with some great information (as he is amongst the Romans). But I never enjoyed him as much as the first three.
My only negative observation is that the pace seemed to slow in places. I think typically I felt this way when we were getting lots of information on military tactics or current political climate. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for it at the time of reading I don’t remember feeling this way in the first book. There seemed to be a bit more focus on the over all conflict with the Romans and a little less on the characters themselves. The first book was very character driven with the three main characters all coming together. In this one we get more POVs and they are spread out. It gives a grander picture, but it also creates a little distance between the reader and the characters in some ways. But ultimately, it did not deter me and I am quite glad I read through to the end.
This was a quite a bloody second installment in the series, one that had points of laughter and points of incredible tension and heartbreak and one that leaves me absolutely on edge for the final book. You really can’t ask for more.