My rating: 5 of 5 stars
WOW! I was over-the-top excited when I got the chance to read an arc of this book. The Obsidian Blade left off on a cliffhanger, and I had so many unanswered questions about the intriguing storyline.
Right from the get-go, this book had me hooked. The pacing (which was practically my only issue with the first book, having had trouble with the first section being a bit slow) was perfect. It starts right where the first book ends, and is at first narrated from Tucker’s point of view. He finds himself in an unexpected place and time, and sets to telling the story of how he arrived there.
At the same time, we also get Lah Lia’s perspective- both of current events, and the events from the first book that were somewhat mysterious (at least to me). I really appreciated re-reading scenes from the first book from Lia’s point of view; it made much more sense knowing her backstory and the history of the Lah Sept, her people.
Lia’s story finally explains her origins as a Pure Girl, as well as the events leading up to her first meeting with Tucker. All the while, we get chapters from Tucker’s viewpoint interspersed, keeping us wondering how events will finally conspire so that the two storylines meet.
Pete Hautman continues with the strong world-building he started in the first book, and I feel that it only improved in this book. The excerpts of history that precede the sections of the book were really helpful in building a timeline that made a lot of sense. We learn how the Digital Plague developed, and the origins of the Lah Sept. As always, I enjoyed the unfolding mystery of how Tucker’s present-day world evolves into the world of the Medicants, and then finally Lia’s world, post-numeracy, where ritual sacrifice and time-travel are ordinary occurrences.
Despite the two different narratives, the story was easy to follow and kept me excited all the way through. I loved meeting familiar characters (Awn), as well as discovering new ones. And again, the whole aversion to numbers was extremely interesting, as was the ways that society had evolved of still referring to amounts of things, just not using actual numbers (Lia constantly referred to a “hand” of things, which I assume was a way of getting around not saying the number five).
Overall, I loved this. If you read The Obsidian Blade, you won’t be able to leave this unread. Rest assured most of your questions will be answered. That said, I have to say I was left hanging again at the end of this book. Is there a third one in the works?? I hope so!
Thank you to the publishers, Candlewick Press, who through NetGalley provided me with this e-book for review!