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Cover and portraits of Michael G. Manning were taken from Amazon or his website for review purposes under Fair Use Doctrine.

Character:  I stand behind my previous assessment regarding Manning’s ability here. The characters in this story are all deep, and their motivations are heartbreakingly sympathetic. I found his relationships here so powerful. This book is truly about a father who would do any horrible thing if it meant extending the lives of his children. I worded that very carefully, and I stand by that clause. This book did a fantastic job of helping the reader spiral downward with Tyrion rather than contemptibly watch him plummet.

5215279Worldbuilding:  One downside to reading this trilogy out of order was a plot twist regarding one of the races in the book. I think those who choose to read it in order (though I’d still stand behind how I read it) will get a bigger thrill out of some of the revelations in this book. The plot weaving in this series is wonderful, and the world just feels like a place one could visit (if he truly hated himself).

Dialogue:  The dialogue in this book is solid.  One of the characters we’ve only seen glimpses of in the first book gets a larger role, and her character brings a certain wit and light to the story that brightens the tale. To have such a huge cast and still give them each a unique voice is no small feat.

Description: I honestly felt like I was there in almost every scene in the book. Weather I was trapped or fighting for my life, Manning has a cinematic voice that makes the reader feel like they’re quietly observing this tragic, dark tale.

Overall: This whole series is one of the best I’ve read in 2017. This particular book was a brilliant second act with equal parts tragedy and triumph. It’s dark, but touching. It’s exciting, but tragic. Those who love dark fantasy should check out all of Manning’s work.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

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