I know, I know, this post has been a long time coming! 🙂 It’s been damn busy these past few weeks, and the chances to update the blog have been few and far between, but I’m back, and I’ve got some great content coming up in the coming weeks. 🙂
Back to the review!
The second book in the Godspeaker trilogy really took me by surprise, I’ll admit that freely. In the first book, we met Hekat, a feisty and completely single-minded young slave girl who knows she is meant for more than the life she was born into; the book takes us through Hekat’s rise to power, introducing many memorable characters and showcasing a unique, interesting world, beautiful in even its harshness and brutality. One of the things that Karen did extremely well in Empress was immerse us in Hekat’s world, even going so far as to change her writing style to match how the people of Mijak spoke and expressed themselves.
Now, in The Riven Kingdom, we are taken to a new land, Ethrea. Ethrea is the kind of land we know from other fantasy worlds, a kingdom with a monarchy and ruling class. But Karen once again works her magic, and instead of the dreary, I’ve-read-about-a-place-like-this-before kingdom, Ethrea reveals itself to be just as wonderful and unique as Mijak! So, thanks for that, Karen! 🙂
In Ethrea, we meet a whole host of new characters – Rhian, Dexterity, Ursa, a surprise character who’s presence throws more than a spanner in the works, and a bunch of others that together make Ethrea as alive as Mijak was made with the characters we got to know there. 🙂
Karen also bravely brings in the question of religion, showing not only how destructive it can be but also how it can bring people together. She also does this in a way that wont tread on anyone’s toes, and might just enlighten the few that need a good wake-up call. Good on ya, Karen!
There’s plenty more to enjoy though; Karen’s descriptions of Ethrea paint the scenery vividly, and she does so with an economy of words that many authors can learn from. What’s also interesting is the detail of Ethrea as a world – as you read deeper you realize that you’re not reading about a familiar world, but a world that is slightly skewed, subtly changed, making it an exciting place to set the tale.
All in all, this wasn’t as amazing as Empress (amazing in terms of worldbuilding, religion, etc) but it’s still an excellent, solid read that makes an invaluable addition to the Godspeaker trilogy; it’s clear that events are in motion that’ll shake the worlds of Hekat and Rhian to the core, and I’m looking forward to the conclusion, Hammer of God. 🙂
The Riven Kingdom is published in SA by Penguin Books SA.