Series: Witch Walker, #2, #2
Published by City Owl Press on 27th September 2022
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The night the Prince of the East razed her village, Raina Bloodgood’s life changed forever. Forced into someone else’s war—and into the arms of the Witch Collector, Alexus Thibault—Raina discovered that everything she believed was wrong, and that she was capable of far more than anyone imagined.
Now, the Prince of the East has taken the Frost King as a pawn in his war against the Summerlands, causing Alexus’s life to hang in the balance. To thwart the prince’s endgame and prevent the Tiressian empire from returning to an age of gods, Raina, Alexus, and a band of Northlanders race against the sands of time to reach a mystical desert land where merciless assassins lurk around every corner.
In the midst of tragedy, Raina and Alexus fight to stay together and alive, all while a nefarious presence follows them straight to the jeweled gates of the Summerland queen’s citadel—the City of Ruin. With much to fear, it’s the terror of a past she shouldn't remember that Raina cannot cast from her dreams.
A past that's determined to find her. One way or another.
At double the length of the first book, there’s lots going on in this one, even if ‘City of Ruin’ is a book that I’m mostly wandering blind in (geographically speaking) because I just can’t wrap my head around the map, the politics, the backstory and the characters who are just not what they seem. Undoubtedly, it’s a massive one–bigger and bolder might I add, especially when it comes to the more untamed steamy scenes and the earthier language. In fact, ‘City of Ruin’ feels like the first book let loose.
If you take Alexus and Raina as your compass, then this pairing becomes the centring force of the book, even if they are subject to actions from others, uncontrollable external forces and intrinsic magic that can unpredictably swing one way or the other.
What has been established in the first book gets overturned in this one and with multiple POVs entering the picture, you’re left to question the grey spaces the characters inhabit (or inhabited), then eventually toss out any preconceptions you might have had about the good guys defeating the bad guys. ‘City of Ruin’ suggests just that: that there isn’t a clear line drawn between the winners and losers; neither is this pure definition of evil one that the reader can comfortably sit with.
And on and on it goes, with Weaks’s magickal world unfurling wider and deeper, with lore and stories that I thought could have been more slowly revealed. I’m reeling from the sinuous narrative (and less-than-straightforward descriptions at times) before yet another plot twist comes my way and yet another oddly-described event leaves me wondering what really happened.
The story shows no sign of abating of course; it ends on a cliffhanger and a throw back in time (you’ve got to appreciate the concept of time travel written with a fantasy twist) that makes you need the next book immediately.