Hello Humans! Before you start this review I highly suggest that you go back and read my review of the first book in this series Smoke and Summons. I mean, I’m not going to tell you that you have to, I’m not your mum or anything, but I think you’ll get more out of this if you view these books as a series as opposed to as distinct individuals.
You have done that? Good. Then on with the review!
Myths and Mortals is the second book in Charlie N Holmberg’s latest trilogy (apparently, it’s called the Numina trilogy) and, as 47 North are well known for, these are coming out at a quick pace. Smoke and Summons released at the start of February and Myths and Mortals is coming out on April 16th. My theory that 47North authors are kept handcuffed to their keyboards is getting more and more plausible. I was lucky enough to get an early look at this book and I’m excited to let you know whether it lives up to book one.
This review may contain spoilers for Smoke and Summons but will be spoiler-free for Myths and Mortals.
Sandis has escaped Kazen’s grasp, but she finds herself unmoored, reeling from her thief friend Rone’s betrayal.
Kazen has been hurt but not stopped, and he’ll do anything to summon the monster that could lay waste to the entire world. Sandis knows she must be the one to stop him, but with her own trusted numen now bound to another, and finding herself with no one she can trust, she is in desperate need of allies. Rone seems determined to help her, but Sandis has no intention of letting him get close to her again. What she doesn’t know is how much Rone gave up to protect her. Or how much more he is willing to give up to keep her safe.
As chaos mounts, Sandis must determine whom to trust. After all, the lines between enemy and ally have never been less clear…and corruption lurks in the most unlikely of places.
Unlike some other sequels, this book almost certainly requires you to have read book one to really get the most out of the plot. A lot of the character development and plot points hang off the events of the first book, most significantly the relationship between the two POV characters Rone and Sandis. Keep that in mind when you’re thinking about reading this. I actually don’t think this will be too much of an issue since the majority of readers are likely to be Kindle Unlimited readers and you may as well read both books if you can read them for ‘free’. However, if you’re a ‘read the strange thing that came through in the Kindle deal email’ like me then you should certainly look to read Smoke and Summons first.
Let’s talk about Rone and Sandis for a moment, since the emotional arc of the book is tied around these two. This book does on occasion walk into that difficult ‘oh just talk to each other’ place that second books can so often get to. I’m not sure if it was made clear enough why they couldn’t just explain their feelings to one another for any reason other than stubbornness. Perhaps I’m being overly picky but that is one of the things that can so clearly mark out a sequel and it’s a particular pet peeve of mine. Having said that, if that kind of angst building towards something more is something that you happen to enjoy then I think this would be an excellent book for you – to each their own!
This book didn’t go quite so far into explaining the metaphysic of the world as I might have liked, it still isn’t quite clear where the creatures that are summoned into human vessels come from and why Sandis has such a connection with hers. I am assuming that these things will be explained in book three and that I won’t be left with Lemony Snicket levels of untied threads – yes I am still bitter. Since I know book three will presumably be out at some point soon (if the current track record is anything to go by) then I’m not too bothered about having to wait for an explanation.
What I did think was good was that this book took the human depravity of the first book and pushed it even further. I can’t really say too much more without spoiling anything but suffice to say this wasn’t just a continuation of the plot of book one, this goes further – and it’s a little unsettling.
This book has Holmberg’s familiar ‘easy-to-read’ style that’s so familiar from The Paper Magician and so forth, but it dwells far more on the darker details than the previous trilogy did. What I think is good is that Holmberg manages to balance the more romantic aspect of this story with the darker fantasy portions, without drifting into the more weird territory that we went to in Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet. It’s a good read.
I ended up giving this book three out of five stars, I definitely enjoyed reading it but I wouldn’t be in a hurry to re-read it any time soon. I’ll be very interested to see how these books fare as a completed series and where these characters end up!
My rating: 3/5 stars
I received a free digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
Myths and Mortals publishes on April 16th!
What say you? Have you started the Numina series? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!