This is the second book in M.H. Thaung’s Numoeath trilogy, the first being Guilt. Oftentimes, the middle book of a trilogy is the weakest. Not that the stories aren’t good or well-written, but they’re usually used as a stepping stone to move the story along to the third book. I don’t think it’s done on purpose, but I find that many authors focus on the first and third books, treating the middle volume as a neglected child.
That’s not the case here. Ms. Thaung does an amazing job of keeping the story moving and weaving the various storylines together into a surprising ending. But ‘ending’ is quite the right word here. Several plot points seem to be resolved at the end of the book, but there are still more questions pending for the third book. So maybe I should refer to it as a ‘semi-resolution’.
One of the things I really enjoyed about this series is the characterization. The characters are all unique and well-rounded. There’s a bit of backstory for each of them, which helps to provide context for their actions and reactions. No one does anything out of character. I understood their views and perspectives, and that helped to immerse me in the story.
And yes, I was immersed. In the last third of the book I found myself reading faster and faster because the story was building so wonderfully. I actually had to make myself stop, back up a few pages, and reread because I was going along so fast I know I was missing some little details. And that’s not a bug…it’s a feature.
I was also pleasantly surprised by how the book ended. In a good way. As I mentioned above there is some resolution to a couple of story lines, one was completely unexpected but satisfying. However, there are still a few mysteries remaining, along with a few new questions that need to be answered. I wish I could go into more detail here, but I know I’d end up spilling a few spoilers. The story is just too damn good for me to take a chance of ruining even a small part of it for you.
However, I do have a few ideas when it comes to the unresolved questions. Ms. Thaung leaves a few breadcrumbs throughout the story in regards to the cursed beasts and their origins. Not enough to give anything away, but enough to get the attentive reader thinking…and I am!
I’m looking forward to the next – and last? – book in the series, Posterity. I’ve gotten to the point where I care about these characters – warts and all – and I’m itching to know more about this world.
I highly recommend the Numoeath trilogy for fans of fantasy, or even sci-fi. It’s well-written, well-plotted, and a great adventure.