Even though the Ancients have been gone from the world for nearly a thousand years, their law still holds sway over the minds of men. Three men hold a claim on the kingdom's empty throne, each jockeying for power with their own conflicting ideology. With unrest brewing among the citizenry, violence breaking out between the lords, and a dark secret kept just under the palace floors, can the kingdom of Retall survive another war of the Ancients?
Star rating 4.5
The Awakening Fire is a dark, twisty tale full of complex characters, suspense and action.
Most of the characters have to make morally grey and strategic decisions. I was surprised at a couple of decisions Hiero made and I'm left wondering what the consequences will be for him down the line. I liked Hiero and I rooted for him to find a way to become king however I'm not sure if the power will be a corrupting force in the end.
As unlikeable as Lord Teris was, it was Lord Kiad who stood out as completely evil. I felt compelled to read through the dark scenes involving him and Gannon and it built up my anticipation for seeing Gannon or Kaiden execute retribution. He got away quite lightly compared to the misery he inflicted on his slaves.
Lamont is another figure who I liked even though I wanted Hiero to win the throne. It will be an interesting read to see Lamont drum up support for another power grab and whether or not his new allies will be trustworthy.
Even though the story is about three men vying for the throne I was surprised at the lack of strong female characters. Sheila was a big disappointment. A king needs a strong and clever queen beside him and I'm not sure that Sheila is made for it. Time will tell and I'm looking forward to reading more to find out.
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