Hello Humans! If you’ve been hanging about the blog and the Booktube for some time you’ll know that L.L. McNeil’s Amarah has been sat on my TBR for an amount of time I can only describe as far too long. This series has a special sentimental spot in my heart as the author was actually the first author to ever reach out to me and the blog three years ago and it’s been really lovely seeing this series grow as I’ve branched out in the bookish community.
Right. Mushy stuff over, let’s get to the book reviewing.
This is the third book in the World of Linaria series so, while this review is spoiler free for Amarah there may be some spoilers if you have yet to read Moroda and Palom.
‘This treasure’ll make us richer than any Goldstone. All the sky pirates in Estoria, Val Sharis, heck, in all of Linaria would be on their way here if they knew where here was.’
With rampaging dragons and marauding Arillians dominating Linaria’s skies, Amarah’s quest for vengeance against the one who took everything from her seems almost impossible.
When a treasure hunt with a former ally leads to the discovery of a lost Varkain artefact, she’s plunged into the middle of an ancient war between Sevastos dragons, Varkain blood magic, and those who crave these powers for themselves.
Amarah wanted revenge. What she uncovers will change the face of Linaria forever.
Return to a realm in turmoil in the World of Linaria – Book Three.
Amarah is, going purely by how they sit on my shelf, the longest book to date in the World of Linaria series. I was a little nervous about that going in because historically I have not had the best attention span when it comes to these books, in the past I’ve found I have to re-read passages to really get a grip on what is happening and I really have to make myself focus in on the text. Once I do that I have a good time – but it is more of an effort than it has been with other books.
Happily, I was mistaken! In a twist of fate akin to the twist at the end of Moroda, Amarah is probably my favourite book out of this entire series (so far).
Part of that is probably because it is the third book in the series, I think that, by this point, the plot and the characters have really found their stride, as a reader you’ve got the hang of people’s various alliances and motivations. That’s particularly true with complicated characters who have quite broad understandings of loyalty and morality. I really felt like this book moved away from the heavy worldbuilding of Moroda and Palom and we got our teeth into some real plot.
This is the third book in what I believe to be a six-book series, so I was partly expecting it to function as the ending to a first trilogy, similar to how the Kingfountain books work. I thought there would be a joining together of characters akin to Avengers, but in fact, most of this book remains pretty disparate in terms of the locations and plot for the various characters. That being said, I did think that I could understand the ways the stories interlocked much better than I could in previous books. This has really only served to pique my curiosity for the later books in this series – with three books to go where else can this story possibly go? The opportunities are pretty much endless.
What I liked about this book was the opportunity to really get to know these characters, I felt like I had a better understanding, for example, of who Palom was now that every moment wasn’t defined by whether or not he should use his sword. I like that L. L. McNeil created a whole cast of fairly morally ambiguous characters, even the most villainous of villains give a sense that they don’t see themselves as in the wrong. It’s a cliché to say, but they do genuinely feel very well-rounded.
The one thing I will mention with this whole series, and this book, is that McNeil relies a lot on proper nouns – that’s a weird way of trying to say that there are a lot of names and names for things/species etc. I think that’s part of why I found the early books a little more difficult, your brain has to constantly work out the meaning of various fantasy names (and I am bad with names at the best of times). It’s not enough for me to say ‘no don’t read this’ but worth having that in mind as you go in. I do have the companion guide so perhaps a read of that will cement things more in my mind!
I most certainly felt that L. L. McNeil hit her stride with this book and if each book in this series grows as these first three have then all I can say is we’re in for an explosive finale to this series.
My rating: 4/5 stars
I received a free copy of this book from the author. All opinions are my own.
Amarah is out now!
What say you? What are some of your self-published faves? Let me know in the comments below!