By: Angie Haddock
Anoor is the first blue-blooded ruler of the Wardens’ Empire. But when she is accused of a murder she didn’t commit, her reign is thrown into turmoil. She must solve the mystery and clear her name without the support of her beloved, Sylah.
Note: This is the second in a series, which is intended to ultimately be a trilogy. See our review of the first book here.
When we last saw these characters, Anoor had just been named the Disciple of Strength. Realizing there was a whole world outside The Wardens’ Empire – which had been kept secret from most people – she sent Sylah to go find out what was out there, and hopefully come back with a solution to the Empire’s climate problems.
So, these two characters both remain main characters in this book – but spend the entire thing apart. We are following stories in two (very) different locations.
This book offers an expanded world geographically, with new peoples, cultures, and lore. But it also offers an expanded world from a storytelling standpoint, as chapters are told from different points of view. We have Anoor, Sylah, and Hassa, who were all POVs that were used in the previous book. But we also see a good portion of the story from Jond’s perspective. This begins because Sylah is incapacitated for a while, but his chapters continue after she wakes up. And we have a completely new character, Nayeli, who lives in an area we have not explored before. I wasn’t sure exactly when Nayeli’s story took place, since it’s so removed from the others, but I felt from early on that it was before the time of the other characters. We do find this out near the end of the book.
Overall, the peoples of these other lands are also dealing with climate issues. They can also do what our main characters call “bloodwerk,” although each land has a different name for it. They theorize that there is too much magic being done, and it has created an imbalance in how the world works (causing all the weather disasters).
And the peoples of these other lands are also gearing up to go to war. Initially, our characters visiting these lands – Sylah, Jond, and a team of Ghostings – are unfamiliar with their legends, powers, and history. As they are learning about all these things, some of our characters in The Warden’s Empire are starting to learn them, too – albeit more slowly.
Anoor’s team had hidden her, against her will, so she could not be tried for murder. It is only from her hiding place that she starts learning of some of the things going on. She doesn’t know most of the story until the very last pages – and even then, she is hearing a very different version than our other characters have put together.
Which brings me to the most interesting aspect, I think. At the very end of the book, all lands are posed for war – The Warden’s Empire among them – and our main characters are posed to be on opposite sides. Anoor and Sylah have yet to speak, or compare notes on all they’ve learned. Hassa’s perspective is somewhat different from both the others, but her knowledge is a little more in line with Sylah’s. So that should make for an explosive kick-off to the final book in this trilogy!
This book comes out today, May 23rd. I was able to read an advanced copy through Netgalley and Del Rey (an imprint of Random House).
One thought on ““The Battle Drum” by Saara El-Arifi – Review”