I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Following the tragic conclusion of The Chosen, we are thrusted into the carnage of life outside the capital of Osrakum. Carnelian and Osidian are captured after the events of the election and transported far from home. Suth, Carnelian’s father, believes his son is dead and is trying to manage the damage at the capital. What transpires is a story of brutality and vengeance to get back the power that was lost. This will be a spoiler free review but I will be touching upon events in the previous novels.
After being rescued, Carnelian and Osidian find themselves in the company of citizens from The Earthen Sky region. Among these new characters is Blue and his family members trying to figure out what to do with The Masters whom they refer to as The Standing Dead. Carnelian seems to understand these newcomer foreign language and he must use his brains to bring about a peaceful resolution. When The Masters are brought before the Clan leaders for judgement, Carnelian sees this as an opportunity to escape the politics and betrayals of Osrakum while Osidian sees a new weapon to be used in plotting his revenge.
If you thought that the first two books in the series were grim than buckle your seatbelt good and tight. Not only do our two main characters need to survive in a foreign land, but to coexist with the people who revere as well as despise them for stealing their children to become slaves. Perspectives will change but Osidian’s revenge will be the burning light throughout this story. We get to see the world from a completely new culture and creatures not seen before. It’s very hard to go into more detail without giving away spoilers but the ride had me at the edge of my seat.
Ricardo Pinto’s writing goes deep and rich interms of worldbulding while describing it in very few words. Everything built upon in the first two volumes will just add a new layer to the worldbuilding equation. With this being the second edition of the series, The Standing Dead is really the first half of the original trilogies book 2, so be sure you have book 4 ready to go.
The originality and dark atmosphere to this series is one I find compelling and tragically slickening at the same time. The lengths that characters have to go through to survive and the sacrifices made in all there barbarism will raddle you to your core. Are you ready to read something this dark? Strap in!