Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Book Review: The Bitter Twins by Jen Williams

This is one of the most amazing fantasy (with a bit of sci-fi thrown in) series I've read in quite a long while. Fantasy authors and publishers tend to write trilogies a la Tolkein, but too often the middle work is stuffed with padding and needless wandering around for my tastes. This is one of those rare exceptions where the author kept the pacing, built the world and the character arcs, and kept the reader on the edge of their seat for the duration of the book. This book splits into several different POVs. Noon, our fell-witch, and Tor are off to find a lost recording that may help their war beasts learn their powers and coordinate with each other better. Bern and Aldasair go to fight a Jure'lia threat to Bern's homeland. Vintage is trying to manage things in Ebora with the help of an Eboran boy Eri but it's not easy with betrayals and political infighting. And Hestillion, Tor's sister, was taken by the Jure'lia queen though she seems a willing prisoner. This was an especially interesting POV as we got to see from the Jure'lia side of things a little. These are such unique characters and their interactions draw the reader in which adds to the tension. The worldbuilding is amazing and unusual but fits so well into the history we discover. There are themes being explored and developed here: connections between groups, origin myths, and exploitation of people. The writing is excellent but also very dark, and I was crying by the end of the book. But it's a fascinating series and I can't wait to dive into The Poison Song.

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