Author: Henry H. Neff
It’s been 3000 years since Max, David, and Mina won the war against Astaroth. The Faeregine have ruled since then, expanding their dominion until they control most of the world. Hazel Faeregine is the youngest of the triplet Faeregine sisters. She has no interest in the throne, only her magic. But simply being a Faeregine comes with dangers and expectations . . .
Hob is a poor miner in the mountains until an unexpected opportunity brings him to the capital. Here, he finally has a chance to help overthrow the Faeregine family’s 3000-year rule, which he hopes will bring a better life for all the non-magical people who suffer under the current policies. But revolutions are tricky business, and Hob is only one player in a much larger game . . .
I’m glad we get a chance to return to this world, although the huge time-skip means it’s not necessary to read the Tapestry books before this one (although I would highly recommend it anyway because they are excellent). This is a different sort of story, with various powers clashing and two kids caught in the middle of things.
Hazel and Hob are both good characters, although I preferred Hob for his determination and his competence. Both Hob and Hazel are considerably less able to influence their situations than one might expect. The ending also leaves Hob particularly in an inconclusive situation, which I wouldn’t mind as much if there was definite news of a sequel. It’s otherwise irritating to get so many hints that big things are stirring without being able to see many of them worked out.
My only downside is that the book felt somewhat long for a payoff that feels like it ought to take more than one book. The whole war with the demons issue is important, but the heart of the book is more with the struggle between the caste system that’s grown up around magic-users versus non-magicians, with the new technologies the Workshop could unlock against the way people have always lived, with the old and inflexible Spider Empress and the extremely young heir to the throne. Those conflicts, as well as a certain necromancer still in the wild, would be plenty of material for future story.
All in all, it’s a solid beginning, and I hope it will be a series of its own. There are some nods to fans of the Tapestry books, though mostly those times are treated like the ancient history they now are. I rate this book Recommended.