I adored Forest of Souls when first read it. As someone deeply scared of spiders, I was surprised how much I loved the world building. And, okay there aren’t as many spiders as you might have expected from the cover! So when I got an early copy of Broken Web I was so happy! Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
The Soulless has woken from his centuries-long imprisonment. Now, he lurks in the Dead Wood recovering his strength, while Sirscha and her allies journey east to the shaman empire of Nuvalyn. Everyone believes she is a soulguide—a savior—but Sirscha knows the truth. She’s a monster, a soulrender like the Soulless, and if anyone discovers the truth, she’ll be executed.
But there’s nothing Sirscha won’t risk to stop the shaman responsible for the rot that’s killing her best friend. While the Soulless is formidable, like all shamans, his magic must be channeled through a familiar. If Sirscha can discover what—or who—that is, she might be able to cut him off from his power.
With Queen Meilyr bent on destroying the magical kingdoms, Sirscha finds herself caught between a war brewing in the east and the Soulless waiting in the west. She should be trying to unite what peoples she can to face their common enemies, but instead, her hunt for clues about the Soulless leads to a grim discovery, forcing Sirscha to question who her enemies really are.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Broken Web picks up right where Forest of Souls ends. It immediately had a different feel to me, focusing more on ruling the kingdom, rebellion, and political maneuvers. Whereas I associated Forest of Souls more with secrets behind closed doors and clashes of will. Broken Web examines all the hidden pieces of the past, those who conceal them, and take choices away from others. It asks – what is the price for rebellion and magic, for wanting to set wrongs to right? I was immediately immersed in the action and swept back into the world.
While I was immediately loving be back in the world, I felt like in the middle the pacing lulled a bit. Nothing that stopped me from continuing, but it had me wondering if this was going to be a classic, “second book syndrome” of a trilogy. Until the last 25% had me absolutely reeling. The pace picked up and hooked me again for the finale. Even though there was action within Broken Web, I felt like this sequel was a bit more introspective. It felt more thoughtful as it questions how monstrous our enemies are – and how human they could become. All while also subtly probing at Saengo and Sirscha’s relationship.
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