The Ships of Merior by Janny Wurts The Wars of Light and Shadow #2

We return to the land of Athera with our two princes Arithon and Lysaer as bitter enemies. 5 years have past following the end of The Curse of the Mistwraith with all of Athera on its edge. The tension is so thin you could cut it with a butter knife as Lysaer, under geas of the Mistwraith is determined to destroy his half brother. Arithon has given up his princely aspirations for the life as a bard apprentice to Halliron. These two princes are destined to confront each other on the battlefield, but the journey is the masterpiece behind this amazing sequel, this will be a spoiler free review, but I will be touching upon events that took place in book 1.

The lands of Athera have been cleansed of the mist with the high cost of turning the to princes into enemies. Arithon has decided to go into hiding and take up the life of a bard instead of subjecting his people to war and pain. For 5 long years Lysaer has been on the hunt and bidding his time for the opportunity to strike at the heart of Athera. Gathering allies, kingdoms, and a fiancé in Lady Talith the light haired prince is driven by madness for the death and destruction of Arithon. With a massive army at his back, Lysaer has driven the shadow prince out of hiding and Arithon must take to the seas to avoid an all out war, but he has a few tricks up his sleeve and allies of his own hiding in plain sight.

It is impossible for me to describe all the mysteries and secrets this book has to offer, not mention the every progressing character arcs in a single review. What I can do is gush about the ingenious creativity and monumental achievement of what I consider to be a classic epic of the genre. What makes this series such a joy to read can also be perceived as its biggest hurdle for new readers. Janny will throw you head first into the storm with little to no point of reference in book 1. You are asked as a reader to not only absorb this tremendous volume with dozens of characters, but to be hit with wave after wave of lore, myths, magic, factions, and rivalries all while moving at a slower than normal pace. This is done on purpose with the intention of slowing your mind to achieve maximum understanding of the nuances the story has to offer. You can not skim this series due to the complexities and important hints that will are bound to come up in a later chapter or even volume. The Ships of Merior not only builds on the positives of book 1, but is also a much better paced and more direct plot than its predecessor. With a climax you will not see coming the series is ripe for an epic volume 3 and the end of the second ARC in the War of Shadow and Light.

The Ships of Merior has dozens of humorous moments and most of them revolving around our notorious mad prophet. He is almost always getting into trouble and the laughs just kept on coming. The Fellowship of the Seven is scattered throughout the land trying to discover the workings of the curse surrounding the two princes and how best to destroy it. The Koraithain sisterhood is on the hunt for the shadow prince and the Prime has no inclinations of using Elaira’s love for Arithon to her advantage. Janny starts to weave her web surrounding the histories of these two powers with plenty more to come in book 3. War is coming to Merior and Arithon will pull every trick in the book to avoid death and destruction by his hands once again.

This sequel has many surprises coming your way and plenty you will not see coming. The complexities, history, and everchanging dynamic of this series will keep even the most experienced reader guessing by the end. This series has so much to offer to the modern fantasy reader that it would be a travesty to not dip your toes into the deep end. Whether complex characters, magic, twists, or epic worldbuilding this series has it all. My only disappointment with this book is the fact that it was split in two. Books 2 and 3 were written as one novel and split for publication reasons. You can guess what I will be reading next! I’m in this until the end and I have one more question to ask you, will you join me?


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