I thoroughly enjoy this historical fantasy world, and I’m so glad that it extends beyond the initial trilogy. Part of what I loved most about this book in particular was seeing this world through new eyes, by a person who is neither magic nor cushioned by wealth and privilege.
I was not expecting to see familiar faces from the original trilogy, but this book extends unfinished plot threads from that final book. It’s a great example of how every minor character is the hero of their own story, with their own goals and motivations. (Also, we finally get to see Stephen Day from the perspective of someone other than Lord Crane. He really is utterly terrifying.)
Jonah and Ben have their share of conflict and relationship drama. One of their first interactions in this book is not easy to read, but Charles portrays what might otherwise be a disturbing event with a deft hand. The flashback scenes that set their shared history are also a masterclass in how to effectively switch and back and forth in time.
This book essentially has two separate climaxes for each of the intertwined plots. Both are incredibly satisfying and dramatic. Jonah and Ben’s happily ever after is hard-fought, and a perfect tug on the heartstrings every step of the way.