Factions rise — Zeal ignites — Bells toll Hanen and Rallia Clouw find themselves between power hungry factions and must choose which tools to take up to reach their goals. With the Rotha revealed to be a thinking, breathing being, Katiam Borreau must tread carefully and choose her allies wisely. Ousted from their western holdings, the Paladins of the Hammer retreat to the west to face new and old intrigue set against them. Made the unwitting messenger of dark gods, Seriah Yaledít seeks solace in the road, fleeing from blind panic gnawing at her mind. Dark tools forged, scale weights measured, cities made pawns of those in power, and the secrets of heresies long past come fully into the light to cast their dark shadows on everything. All would be heroes must give their lives, Or be made illustration— For those who’ve still to come and try, To fall or rise, Above their station. Gloves of Eons is Volume Three of the Kallattian Saga, the Epic Fantasy series from Andrew D Meredith.
Gloves of Eons does what every good sequel should, improve on the previous works of the series and add fresh new elements. I loved this book and I’m confident that this is Meredith’s best work to date. The profoundly deep worldbuilding is what first piqued my interest in the Kallattian Saga, and the author does not let up with that in this book. But for those less interested, Gloves of Eons also has the best character work and quickest paced plot of the series yet.
For worldbuilding nerds like me, you are going to love what Meredith does with this book. We get more insight into just about everything; the gods, religious orders, magic. Some secrets are revealed and of course, we learn of even more unanswered mysteries. And for those keeping track, there is much more involvement of the gods in this book, and much more overt action as well. The looming conflict between the gods of Kallattai is drawing ever nearer, and the players are starting to lay down their pieces at a quicker and quicker rate. The intriguing soft magic of the world continues to be explored and expanded in this entry, with very interesting concepts introduced from the Rotha and the titular Gloves. From early on in my read of Deathless Beast I could tell that the worldbuilding was on par with the best of the genre and I am increasingly more confident in that assertion. And what is possibly even more impressive is the way the author is able to convey the depth of the world without it ever feeling like an exposition dump, even a disguised one. I am a huge fan of Brandon Sanderson but even I have to admit that there are times when he goes overboard. I have not felt that way even once with the Kallattian Saga and in this aspect Meredith stands at the top of his field.
As I mentioned the characters in the series continue to improve and for readers of the series, I think the plot arcs of a few characters will take you by surprise. In both Deathless Beast and Bone Shroud, Jined struggles with personal faith. In Gloves of Eons, he again faces a personal crisis of faith but in a very different way. It was very interesting to watch how Jined works through his own issues now that he is the chosen of his god Grissone. And the religious conflicts don’t just stay personal to Jined. We saw the beginnings of religious schisms in Bone Shroud that only get crazier in this novel. Both the Paladins and the Church of Aben face serious internal issues that are causing external conflicts. One of the unique aspects that interested me about Deathless Beast was the lack of inter-religion conflict. Unlike many fantasy worlds, pretty much everyone in Kallattai believe in the same set of gods, though many have a specific one they worship. So there are no nations calling the other pagans or barbarians for believing in different gods. It is what makes the Motean Sect so interesting, they have to believe in the gods, they aren’t fantasy atheists. But they reject the authority of the gods and seek to wield their power without needing to worship them. In Gloves of Eons we start to have religious conflicts stemming from human corruption both within religion and government, and I really enjoyed the themes the author played with in this corruption and rebellion.
Our other characters also have their time to shine. Hanen continues to frustrate with his indecision and Rallia as his moral anchor. Katiam and her companions have an intriguing journey that follows up on Katiam’s divine mandate from Bone Shroud. Hanen and Katiam (and even Dane) have compelling arcs in this novel that I won’t get into for both spoiler and review length considerations but suffice to say that I think all readers of the Kallattian Saga will be enthralled by each character arc in this novel. In my opinion it is the best character work of the series to date and each of the characters grows in exciting ways.
In terms of the writing itself, Meredith continues to be a master at storytelling, the prose is beautiful as can be expected without becoming too flowery or self-indulgent. I am a reader who doesn’t mind simple prose a la Sanderson and enjoys the purple prose of Tolkien so I am confident that any reader will enjoy this writing style no matter where you fall on the spectrum. The series up to this point can definitely be considered a slow burn. The author stays true to that feeling in Gloves of Eons but also ups the pace more often. For any reader who hasn’t been thrilled with the slow burn nature of the series, you might find this one more to your liking. While those who do enjoy it will still find plenty of occasions to slow down and soak in the story. The ending especially is tense and fast-paced, though not a constant barrage of action. And in classic Meredith style, the reveals at the end of the book will leave you stunned and begging for more.
If you haven’t been able to guess by now, Gloves of Eons is my favorite book in the series so far. In my opinion it is a fantastic sequel and improves on the first two books in every way. The Kallattian Saga is one of top ongoing fantasy series and if you are reading this review but haven’t started it yet, go pick up the first book right now. I can’t recommend this series and this novel highly enough.