What I've Been Reading || A Sequel Selection

Friday, March 25, 2022

 Sequels and series continuations - I love them, generally speaking. Sometimes a series can really suffer 'second-book syndrome' where the first book was a sight to behold, something fantastic and new and delicious, and then you get into the second book and it has so much set-up for the *next* book that you end up feeling kind of frustrated. And other times a second (or later) book can be everything you wanted and then a little bit more, and that's the kind of series-reading experience I am here for.

So! With that little intro, here are three books I recently read that are all continuations or conclusions of series! (And, yes, I am feeling mighty proud of myself for reading them!)

Empire of Gold

S. A. Chakraborty

Third and final book of the Daevabad Trilogy

This one was a looong time coming for me - I actually bought a copy as soon as it came out, but then it sat on my shelf for about... two and a half years before I had the energy to tackle it. And that is definitely not because I don't like the characters or anything - I love these characters, the political machinations and the sacrifices are just so intense that I knew I had to read this at a time when I was feeling like I could handle it. And then, finally, that time arrived. And I was not disappointed in the slightest.
Coming in at about 780 pages, this book is the chonky finisher that fans of the other books deserved. There is just so much packed in here, and after the cliff-hanger-ending of Kingdom of Copper that left me reeling, it was absolutely everything I needed it to be. The stakes are so high though that I needed to take a break or two whilst reading this - I was so scared of what was going to happen. And I cried. Oh my goodness, how I cried with some of these chapters. One in particular, with a goodbye near the end between two characters, just kind of ripped my heart out and then tried to gently put it back in a little more bruised. Chakraborty's writing only got better in this book, and I was already enamoured from the very beginning.
Oh, and apparently there's a short story collection called The River of Silver set in the Daevabad world coming out later this year? You can bet I will be preordering that one.

The House of Always
Jenn Lyons
Fourth Book in the A Chorus of Dragons series

I'm really starting to know more about myself at this point in my life, and so I know that what gets me really into a series - making me willing to stick with it for multiple books - is usually characters more than plot. But this series is just such an amazing blend of both, and it's also incredibly confusing at times, with all the rebirths/reincarnations/soul-swapping/mimics/just everything. I originally though that this series was going to be like seven books long or something similar? But it turns out that the next book - The Discord of Gods, coming late April - is going to be the last one. Part of me is incredibly impressed that I've caught up in time, and another part is already weeping bitterly that after this book...that's it. The end of the series. I can't help hoping that Jenn Lyons might write a spin-off series, or maybe some short stories that tie-in? Anyway.
This puts the 'epic' in 'epic fantasy' - the scope of this series is enormous, you are following a huuuge cast of characters (plenty of room to have multiple favourites), and the plot spans lifetimes, whilst also being in-the-moment. Every time I try to explain this series to someone else, I end up just throwing my hands up in frustration. Because, yes, it's an epic fantasy that follows a character called Kihrin who is, rather than being the hero, actually maybe the reason why the world will come to an end? But it's also so much more than that and this book, like all the others, completely caught me unawares and had me addicted, so that its 500-odd pages went flying by. I love the characters, I love the diversity, I love the story, and I love the humour. And I absolutely adore the footnotes. Simultaneously cannot wait, and am terrified for, the release of book five.

A Desolation Called Peace
Arkady Martine
Book Two in the Teixcalaan Series

Arkady Martine's writing and stories remind me a lot of Ann Leckie's Imperial Radch series, and also Yoon Ha Lee's The Machineries of Empire books, both of which I adore. This is scifi with complex political systems, characters who sometimes exist within the same body, or a single character existing within multiple bodies. It's snide comments, machinations on top of machinations, relationships that hardly make sense because they're so complex, and yet also make perfect sense because they have to. The characters in this are so multi-faceted, and you don't always know which way is up, but I love that! I love that we follow multiple characters, that we witness cultures clashing, and a layered exploration of colonialism, and conquering nations, and what it means to remain true to your culture, and how far people will go for what they believe in, and how that can be almost exactly the same as someone else and yet inspire a very different reaction or action.
Okay I'm rambling at this point.
My point is - I love these books, and I hope there are many more, and also I would probably read Arkady Martine's shopping list at this point and find it richly layered, too.

Basically, I loved all of these books! And that is so wonderful, and makes me feel like I'm on a roll with my reading line-up, and I just want this to keep happening. I hope that any sequels/continuations you read are as wonderful to you as these ones have been to me.

Love to all who read. <3

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