I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Sidewinders is the highly anticipated sequel in the Fire Sacrament series. This novel has been at the top of my TBR for the past 3 years as Robert V.S Redick has led my every roaming imagination astray. The author has a way of drawing you in with his words and you are left in awe at the lore, worldbuilding, and infinite possibilities to come. Sidewinders is a triumph in every single way to its predecessor and one of the riches worlds you can find in the fantasy genre today. This will be a spoiler free review but I will be touching upon events from book 1.
Revisiting the desert lands of Urrath is the equivalent of rediscovering a long lost passion. You remember the basics and know how to get started with the realization that there is so much more to discover. Our two main protagonist of Mektu and Kandri are still on the run from the Prophets death-priest after Kandri caused the death of her favorite son. They have joined a caravan destined for the holy city of Kasralys, where Kandri must deliver his encoded message containing a cure for the plague. Also in Kasralys is Kandri’s long lost love from his childhood and the factions around Urrath are looking for any possible advantage . The Prophet has spies everywhere in Urrath, including the caravan Mektu and Kandri have joined. No one can be trusted especially Mektu who seems to have been infected by the demonic Yatra and the lives of the brothers rests on the edge of a jeweled blade.
Along with the brothers, we get to revisit similar characters from the previous novel including: Eshett the prostitute, Talupeke the warrior, and uncle Chindilan the blacksmith. If you remember from book 1, the story was told from the perspective of Kandri both in the present and past. In Sidewinders, we are introduced to multiple POV perspectives all in different parts of the world and it was a welcome addition to the character list. We get a perspective from the city of Kasralys and how they are preparing for an invasion for outside forces. We get another perspective from a retired general on the invading forces side and why they wish to conquer the fortified city. Finally, we get a first hand look into the workings of the Prophets camp and we see her ultimate desires. Not only for revenge against the two brothers but also for her plans regarding the rest of the continent. Each chapter is a different layer of brick that just keeps building and growing in size and wonder. The implications continue to evolve and change the further along you get into the story. Your perspective will completely change upon reading the final chapter, leaving you wanting the finale to quench your ever wanting thirst for answers. One final fun tidbit is the introduction interlude sections in multiple chapters and they are a amazing to read from a character you will never expect!
Sidewinders is a slow-burn, epic worldbuilding type of novel that you must take your time to enjoy like a glass of fine wine. The writing style is descriptive and beautiful without being overly complex. You will feel lost in its wonder. For those worried about not remembering much about Master Assassins’ need not worry in the least. The first few chapters are riddled with paragraphs describing past events and I was caught up in no time. Once you get caught in the weeds of Sidewinders, Robert V.S Redick will not let you up for a breath until the end.
I would say that you may need to be in the mood for a slower book like this and if you are looking for intense action in every chapter, then this book won’t be for you. The characters will shine and grow if you can take you time to see your investment come to fruition. I can’t recommend this series enough and for those whom have never read a book by the talented Robert V.S Redick, you are missing out on something truly special. Don’t just take my word for it and find out for yourselves.