August 21, 2021

Review: Siege of Rage and Ruin

Siege of Rage and Ruin Siege of Rage and Ruin by Django Wexler
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This last book of the Wells of Sorcery trilogy does a fine job of wrapping things up. One would hope this would be the case, of course, but I found this third book to be a satisfying, well-executed ending, with good payoffs for both the characters and the world.

The core of this book, and indeed the entire trilogy, is the relationship between the sisters Isoka and Tori. The first book is told from Isoka's POV, which is appropriate as the two are separated for the entire narrative. In the second, Tori's story is picked up, which adds greatly to the series. This continues in the third book, alternating chapters of Isoki and Tori and the showdown with the antagonist in their home city of Kahnzoka.

This is a young adult fantasy with a fairly innovative magic system. The only thing that creeped me out was Tori's sorcerous power, Kindre, the Well of Mind. She can manipulate people mentally, and during her fight against Kahnzoka's oppressive class system she creates a network of people called the Blues, which are basically her mind slaves. Of course this is a horrendous violation, and though Tori calls herself a monster, Isoka all but brushes it off as "doing what you must with what you have." Isoka has killed a great many people with her Well, Melos, the Well of Combat, which includes (among other things) green swords of power emerging from her wrists. Still, this seems like a pretty clean death compared to what Tori is doing, and that whole concept needed to be rethought a bit, I think.

But the overall worldbuilding is well-thought-out and interesting, and the sisters Gelmei both show some nice character growth. The ending concludes the story in a satisfying manner, with the sisters taking the survivors of Kahnzoka, including the mistreated mage-born, aboard their gigantic ghost ship Soliton and away from the city altogether, never to return. (Although I would have loved to learn more about the "ancients" who created both Soliton and the Wells of Sorcery. This series is fantasy, but the little we got of this world's backstory had a definite SF feel to it.) I read a lot of YA, and this is definitely one of the better series of recent years.

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