This is the second book in the Ascension Cycle, which is an epic fantasy trilogy. It follows closely after the events of the first book, The Soul of the World. Like it’s predecessor, this sequel is split into four sections, each marked by a change in season. These sections are split into four character perspectives; Sarine, Erris, Arak’Jur and Tigai. At the end of each section there is an interlude, which features more perspectives. Each book in the series so far also provides a map of the world. So far, the first two books have started in Spring. This is a review of a sequel so there may be minor spoilers ahead, but I will not be discussing the plot in detail.
After reading the first book earlier this year, Blood of the Gods became one of my most anticipated books releases of 2018. I had high hopes for this sequel and I am happy to say that it didn’t disappoint. The story continues to follow the three main characters (Sarine, Erris and Arak’Jur), along with the additional perspective of a new character, Tigai. Like the first book, each perspective has a distinct voice and each chapter is as compelling as the last. Since this is a sequel, we have already been introduced to the majority of characters and so the author can really focus on the growth of each character. This is one of the strengths of this book, in my opinion. The author manages to keep each character consistent with what we know of them from the first book, while developing them in ways that keep them engaging. Like the first book, the characters are fantastic, and I cannot wait to see how things progress for them all in the third and final book.
In terms of the plot, this sequel was fantastic. The story continues soon after the events of the first book and it is taken in a direction that I loved. I found it was easy to settle back into the flow of the story. The twists and turns within the plot mean this it’s an engaging read that will keep you gripped until the very end. Mealing does a great job at weaving all these plot threads together without sacrificing any character development or world building. However, the length of it does mean that it drags a little in certain places. This wasn’t a big issue for me personally, but it may be something to be aware of going into this rather large book. Personally, I loved the plot development in this sequel and felt that the pacing was well suited to the story. The military aspects and battle scenes are also really well done. Once I started reading this book, I didn’t want to put it down.
Once again, the magic system is a strength in this series. There are three distinct systems; leyline manipulation, a spirit-based system and magic possessed by a small dragon companion called kaas. One of my main complaints of the first book is that there wasn’t a focus on any of the systems, so I felt like I didn’t have a good understanding of any of them. However, in this sequel the author does a good job at exploring these systems more. There was just enough focus on it to expand on what we learnt in book 1, while also still keeping some of it mysterious and intriguing. Like the magic system, the world building is fantastic. I loved the world in the first book and I love it even more now. You can really see the time and effort that Mealing’s put into this world. In my opinion the magic systems and world building feel more assured in this sequel. The world isn’t the most unique within the fantasy genre, but it is richly written with interesting cultures and a great map.
The story will continue in Chains of the Earth, but as far as I know there is no release date as of yet. Overall, I thought this was a fantastic continuation of this trilogy. Like the first book, this sequel contains unique magic systems, a well written world and a fantastic cast of characters. I think these books are seriously underrated and I highly recommend checking it out, especially if you love epic fantasy books. If you enjoyed the first book, then you will love this sequel too and if you haven’t read the first book you should really check it out. I am eagerly anticipating the release of the third and final book, hopefully sometime next year. Have you started this series? I’d love to know your thoughts. I hope you are all having a wonderful day and I will see you next time.