Title: Path of Beasts
Author: Lian Tanner
Goldie, Toadspit, and Bonnie have finally made it back to their hometown of Jewel. All of them have been changed by their time in Spoke, but Goldie most of all. The ancient Princess Frisia now lives within Goldie, and her battle-madness does as well. Such abilities can be very useful now that Jewel has been taken over by the Fugleman again . . . if Goldie doesn’t go insane first.
I have a soft spot for both thieves and berserkers, and now that Goldie is struggling with multiple personalities, she can play both roles at once. She’s got a full arsenal against the overpowered Fugleman, as Princess Frisia’s tactical knowledge and wolf-sark (battle madness) allow the conflict to play out as a war between thieves. Yet for all the clever tricks the children play on the mercenaries and the Blessed Guardians, it never feels like they’re cheating. These are things within their abilities, as all-out war is not.
The story of Princess Frisia continues to play a role in Goldie’s life, though more as a present reality than a historical fact. I like how the past continues to inform the present, and in some very interesting and unexpected ways. Many of the revelations continue to build on details shown in the two previous novels.
I was also very happy with the fate of the Fugleman. There’s an interesting contrast between him and Goldie, especially at the end, around choices. Goldie has to believe she has a choice—or Frisia’s wolf-sark could never be controlled. But the Fugleman likes to paint a world where he is entirely rational and downright heroic, where choice is an illusion. He doesn’t seem to care that by now all of Jewel only tolerates him because they can’t figure out how to get rid of him. Fugleman is a perfect picture of Nietzche’s superman: he creates his own rules and considers everyone around him merely a tool to further his own ends. And this naturally leads him to some horrific decisions, as he has no sense of morality or consideration of others.
This is the perfect cap to an already solid trilogy. I would strongly urge reading Museum of Thieves and City of Lies before this book, as much about the characters is only hinted at here. I rate this book Highly Recommended.