The Sun’s Devices, Rebecca Levene – Book Review

Hello Humans! Back for more book reviews I see? Well I suppose I could dig one out for you.

I have no idea if anyone reading this blog has been here since 2017 – I suspect the answer is no but hey if that’s you then hello thanks for being so supportive. Back in 2017 I read the first two books in Rebecca Levene’s Hollow Gods series The Smiler’s Fair and The Hunter’s Kind. The lovely folks over at Hodder & Stoughton reached out and asked if I would like to review the third book in the series and I said yes!

Have no fear – I did actually go back and re-read the first two books in the series to get myself back up to speed, so this is more a review of the series so far rather than just for the third book.

Goodreads Summary

Seven years have passed since the shattering of Mirror Town, and Krish has taken has rightful place as heir to the kingdom of Ashanesland, with his friends and allies ruling by his side. He’s turned his back on his divine birthright and set out to bring unity to the warring tribes and nations as no more than a man.
The mysterious land once known as the Eternal Empire has opened its borders at last, and invited Krish to take his place as part of its ruling Triumvirate. But there are plots within plots in the country that once worshipped his sister, the sun, and now hates all gods.
Because the sun goddess been made flesh once again and is determined to end the ancient conflict with her brother’s final defeat. And there are strange and new gods stirring in the lands – while some search for a weapon that could destroy them all.

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First things first – if you haven’t recently read the first two books in this series, or if you don’t have a good memory for what happened you definitely need to go back and re-read or this book won’t make a lick of sense – at least I don’t think it would have done for me. Yes there is a time skip and in theory you could pick things up but I think most of the more celestial or divine elements of the story will make far more sense when seen as a progression from the earlier books.

I have to say the thing I liked least about the earlier books in the series was the focus on sex – it felt like every five minutes someone was whipping something out. In my earlier reviews I talk about how I think this kind of aligned with the popularity of GOT when these books were publishing. Obviously I don’t know that for sure, but what I did notice was that this book felt much more mellow than the previous two. I’m not saying The Sun’s Devices is all sunshine, rainbows and chastity – but it feels much less gratuitous. I think that shift in focus makes all the other aspects of the book: the characters, the magic, this strange plot – all shine just that little bit more.

Of course if you loved the former books because of all the whipping out then that might be a negative point for you – I won’t judge.

While I did like seeing where parts of this story progressed I don’t think the plot side of things was as strong in this book as it has been in the previous books. I wonder if this might have been a product of the way I was reading it? For context, I definitely thought this was the end of a trilogy but the way the story ended implied things weren’t completely over. I can’t see any evidence of a future book in the usual places but regardless things felt unfinished somehow. While the setting, the magic, and all the character work felt much stronger I think the story across the first two books is much stronger – which is unfortunate because a blend of the two would have been perfect!

Make no mistake – I definitely enjoyed reading this book, and seeing some of the plot threads come together after all this time was very satisfying. This series isn’t one I would recommend to everyone as there are some more grim aspects to the world – but for those looking for that sort of storytelling I think it would be a really good option. It was also hugely interesting to look back at my old reviews and see how my reading has developed since first reading this series.

My rating: 3/5 stars

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, all opinions are my own.

The Sun’s Devices is out now!

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What say you? Have you read this series? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

J

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