Volcanic eruptions, sinkholes, ground shakers–everything points to their unhappiness. At least that is what the king of Armania believes. His son, Prince Wilek, thinks his father’s superstitions are nonsense, though he remains the ever dutiful heir apparent to the throne.
When a messenger arrives and claims that the town of Farway has been swallowed by the earth, the king sends Wilek to investigate. But what Wilek discovers is more cataclysmic than one lost city. Even as the ground shifts beneath his feet, Wilek sets out on a desperate journey to save his people and his world. But can he do it before the entire land crumbles?
Blurb and cover from Goodreads
5 out of 5 stars
Is anyone surprised by that rating? I’m not. Jill Williamson is amazing and belongs to an extremely short list of auto-buy authors in my life. Since I discovered her Blood of Kings stories two summers ago, I have been besotted with her work.
I figured out pretty quickly that this was a prequel to the Blood of Kings trilogy. It takes place a few centuries beforehand and details how the main characters’ ancestors first came to the land of Er’Rets. It took me a while to finish this, because I would make guesses about what would happen next, it would be bad, and I would panic because I like love these characters and I really, really didn’t want anything bad to happen to them. Nonetheless, this was an amazing read. A bit darker and it gets into many more dynamics than it’s companion trilogy, but it comes together astoundingly.
This has several big main characters, so I’m going to try and just highlight the main ones.
Wilek is the heir apparent and I grew attached to him very quickly. Called “the Dutiful,” he reminds me of the Trojan Prince Hector. Considering that mythological character’s fate, I spent a lot of time pacing with worry over him in particular. His character arc was fascinating and I could tell it was going to take a great deal more to bring him to Arman than his brother. Nonetheless, the story of him and Lebetta (she’s no Andromache, FYI) was fascinatingly handled and explored how her choices had shaped him. Definitely an intriguing element to his character.
Trevn is the author’s official favorite (she said so). His boyish, often rebellious antics have earned him the name “the Curious” and he is one of the more lovable characters in the series. I definitely appreciated his storyline that parallels historical struggles to preserve the Scriptures. Despite being the self-proclaimed renegade, he’s the first character to accept Arman and I’m really hoping he rubs off on his older brother, Wilek.
Mielle I appreciated for her devotion to Zeroah and how she tries to do the right thing. Her relationships with Zeroah and later Trevn are defining features of her storyline and I panicked over her more than once as well. Compassionate and kind, but still ready to run on rooftops, she’s the perfect measure of nurturer and adventurer.
Charlon is…how do I describe Charlon? I started out rooting for her. Even though she made some bad choices, it makes sense why she made them. I’m really hoping for a redemption arc in the next two books because I truly care about her and this is Christian fantasy. (Screw you, Magon.) When her character was first introduced, I got this feeling that she would end up as Wilek’s queen. I have no idea how or if that will happen, but it was just a thought I had. A thought that is now giving me distinctly mixed feelings.
Hinck, Kalenek, Inolah, Qoatch, and Grayson also have POV chapters and I came to care deeply about all of them (especially Kalenek), but these review would get monstrously if I was allowed to gush over what I did and did not love about each.
This is an amazing story that made me excited for the next book while also making me want to read my Bible. For me, I find good Christian fantasy can be a more spiritual experience than most sermons. This was one of those and I cannot wait for the next installment.