The Garden of Empire by J.T. Greathouse Pact and Pattern #2

I recieved an ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. The Hand of the Sun King was one of my favorite books of 2021 and I was eagerly anticipating this sequel for a year. What we have here is a sequel that raises the stakes of the story in every way imaginable while keeping that poetic writting of book 1. The author changed the narrative by introducting new POV characters to the story but this was need for the novel to progress and build toward the wild climax. You will not want to miss this. This will be a spoiler free review, but I will be touching upon events from the previous volume.

Wen Alder, once an integral part of the empire and Hand of the Sun King has now been branded a traitor. Now missing one hand and the mark of the Emperors power gone, he has now become Foolish Cur and joined the rebellion. Alder realizes the stakes are raised to an intense level with the Emperors desire and vengeance needing to be put to stop. Sacrifices and death are littring the country side and Alder must make a drastic choice. With the help of the Gods and a stuborn teacher Alder plans to make a Pact of his own with the Gods and use his new found power to create his own army of magic users. Will he succeed?

As i mentioned in the introduction we do get other view point characters in this sequel as well. We have Pinnon who is now a Hand of the emperor. Driven for revenge against Alder for his past actions but at the same time seeing the pain and destruction need to accomplish this goal. The rebellion will be put down even if Pinnon needs to resort to drastic measures. Finally we have Kora Ha, once the tudor of Alder now opening up a school to preserve his teachings to the next generation. He may have bitten off more than he can chew.

The raising of stakes and the drastic changes Alder has to go through is what makes this story shine. There were several scenes which left me in complete shock while the slow build up kept me sweating like a tea kettle waiting to scream. The switch in the number of POV characters will not work for some readers but please know that the story needed these additions. Wild twists and shocking revelations will leave you begging for the finale. I know I am!


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