Avarin tumbles into madness through the shattered ruin of a centuries-old peace.
As griffin riders clash against airships above and hordes of madmen below, Lynn finds herself surrounded by enemies. Ones that will test the limits of her faith. To defeat them, she must risk everything… including her sanity.
Adrian has lost the Legion, but new magics on foreign shores might be the answer he needs to rebuild his army. His return to the Domain will bring vengeance, and the hope that he will finally prove himself to his father.
Nasha’s curse has taken on a new, terrifying shape. She dreads it could be just what the dead goddess needs to escape from Her prison within the Silent Earth. Will she be strong enough to resist, or will Nasha’s curse give rise to the monster she fears to become?
Madness is spreading and it cares not for the borders of men.
A Shade of Madness is the second book in the Ashes of Avarin series, picking up straight after the exciting conclusion of SPFBO finalist A Touch of Light.
Michael Sugarman –
I received an eARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.
It is the second entry from the author’s “The Ashes of Avarin” series, and adds a new POV character to the existing three (Kadmus joins Adrian, Lynn and Nasha). Adrian is a prince dealing with loss and vengeance, and figuring out where he fits in with his family and in society. Lynn remains a warrior with experience battling the affliction plaguing the world, but is having trouble processing her past and how her role among her “found family”. Nasha is a hunter with a curse she cannot fully control that impacts her ability to stay sane. Kadmus is a man with a secret that is his sole focus and guides his every action.
I enjoyed the first book in this series, but this one was even better. As is common with first entries, I felt the first book took some time to get going because it had to introduce the characters, etc. (keep in mind I gave it 4 stars). On the other hand, this book had me hooked from the beginning and it took me half the time to read.
I particularly enjoyed the developments in Adrian’s story (excellent political intrigue and family drama) and Kadmus (the emotional pull driving his actions). I found myself eager to return to Adrian in particular, as I felt he has changed the most as a character from the beginning of book 1. I also feel that Lynn’s story improved because, among other reasons, we learned more about her connection with her griffin…animals as side characters are awesome. If I had to nitpick, I find Nasha’s story the least enjoyable because it gets into visions and indirect meaning that has less intrigue for me, but I still liked her chapters.
One aspect of the story that might get glossed over for which I want to give specific credit to the author: there’s a summary of the story so far at the beginning. While I read the first book immediately prior to starting this one, I nonetheless appreciated its inclusion hope it becomes a trend.
I highly recommend that you read this series as soon as possible and cannot wait for what’s next!