My expectations for Mike Shackle were set sky high upon the completion of We are the Dead. I was left wondering, how on earth could he possible top this and where would the story go. These questions were answered in spades as I have come to learn that Mike Shackle is not one to shy away from curveballs, blood, and betrayals. The story ended up going in a completely different direction than I thought entering book 2 and upon finishing the novel, I am ready for the final battle to come in book 3. Mike Shackle has out done himself and has moved himself into my must read pile for every book he writes from this day forth! This will be a spoiler free review but I will be touching upon events that happened in We are the Dead.
A Fool’s Hope begins immediately following the climatic conclusion of We are the Dead. The Jia are continuing their revolutionary war efforts against the invading Egril. Mike Shackle has an impressive way in which the story is extremely focused on the characters and plot, but at the same time vast enough to understand the bigger picture. As with Mikes first book, there will be plenty of action in A Fools Hope and, of course, there will be blood! When the story kicks off, you will get the feeling that you understand where the twist and turns are going to come from, but then Mike will pull the rug out from underneath your feet and pull you into a dark tunnel with no sense of direction. The twist works well to push the plot and characters forward with the overall themes of: friendship, family, love, and vengeance at the forefront throughout the entire second half of the novel.
Tinnstra, now the sole protector of the young Queen Zorique, will do anything in her power to keep her safe from the enemies no matter where they may lurk. Tinnstra and Zorique’s story line was my absolute favorite characters to follow in A Fools Hope. The love and comradery they develop over the course of the story will tug at your heart strings as Zorique must find the strength within herself to become the savior she is destined to be. Jax story line was also very impressive to read. He is tortured and haunted by the past acts of book 1 and he seems to be going insane. The drastic actions he has to make in order to survive were shocking and brilliant at the same time. This is just a testament to how well Mike Shackle is at writing his characters and building tension. We are introduced to several new characters over the course of this book and they all have a part to play in the upcoming Last War. No character will stay the same throughout the novel as events and situations will change them forever.
Mike Shackle is an author on the rise and as far as I am concerned hasn’t even reached his peak yet. I felt the tension with every swing of a characters sword, every incoming enemy, and with the explosion’s all across the city. I was always kept on the toes with the hope that Mike will not shatter my heart like he has done time and time again. Mike Shackle is cruel to his characters but he always has a clear goal in mind and will not be disappointed with A Fools Hope. It is a triumph of a second book and book 3 will bring the battles, the action, and the pain for me to swallow it all upon with my wooden spoon!
If you haven’t read any of Mike Shackles books by now, I don’t know what you are waiting for. Do it! Come and experience the Last War one painful sword slash at a time! Job well done Mike Shackle!