Hello, everyone! Today I’m reviewing Engines of Chaos by R. S. Ford. I enjoyed the first book in this series, Engines of Empire, and was incredibly curious about where the story might go next. What did I think about this second installment? Read on to find out!
“Perfect for fans of Brent Weeks, George R. R. Martin, or David Gemmell . . . . The best traditional epic fantasy I have read in years.” — Grimdark Magazine on Engines of Empire
“An excellent start to a new series: fast-paced and engaging, with a properly epic setting and a cast of characters I look forward to seeing more of.” – James Islington, author of The Shadow of What Was Lost on Engines of Empire
From an unmissable voice in epic fantasy comes the second novel in a trilogy where guilds clash, magic fuels machines, and an empire begins a revolution.
Torwyn burns as Sanctan Egelrath tightens his grip on power. The Draconate Ministry has gathered its forces, determined to eradicate the Guilds, but Rosomon Hawkspur still stands in their way.
Her only hope could lay with Lancelin Jagdor, sent to gather allies in their struggle against the usurper. Can even the greatest warrior in Torwyn hope to succeed with so many adversaries determined to stop him?
Tyreta returns home with newfound strength and mysterious sorcerous abilities, only to discover it is not the land she left behind. She will have to call upon her untested powers to survive when she embarks on a mission that could turn the tide of war.
Conall, trapped in a dangerous land, has his own enemies to defeat before he can hope to escape and join the conflict that threatens his family. Even if he succeeds, he must overcome the demons that threaten from within or face damnation.
Though Rosomon is vastly outnumbered, and her family lost, she is determined to strike back against her enemies. But saving her homeland might prove an impossible task.
“Epic fantasy fans listen up: This is the good stuff. Highly recommended.” —Kirkus (starred review) on Engines of Empire
I don’t think this series gets nearly enough hype. This book was an intense ride from beginning to end with so many twists and turns. If I learned anything from the first book, it was to expect my expectations to be shattered. Spoiler alert… They were. I also knew that I shouldn’t get attached to any of the characters, but I did it anyway and regretted it. Read into that what you will. lol. The title was definitely chosen well because everything about this book was absolute chaos but in the best possible ways.
I love this world so much. It just felt incredibly huge and exciting, and this story added so much depth to the framework laid down in the previous book while also adding some fascinating new elements. The magic and technology were used in some really cool ways. The melding of the two is probably my favorite thing about this series. The conflict between the guilds and the ministry was incredibly tense, and it provided a great way to explore a society coming apart at the seams as religious zealots overthrow an oligarchy.
I’m not going to say much about the plot or specific characters because I don’t want to spoil anything from either of the books. Reading them is such an experience, and knowing things beforehand would make it less enjoyable, in my opinion. I will, however, comment on a few generalities. The plot was full of fighting, battle planning, and tons of peril. I never knew if a character would make it past the next page, and it kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. The pace was brisk, but there were some quieter moments, especially in the first half when most of the characters were traveling. I found myself getting more attached to the characters in this book even though there were even more POVs than the first one. Even though a lot of this story was build up for the finale in the next book, each character had a very clear and complete arc. Many of the POVs felt much more intimate this time, as well, with some of them dealing with topics like a crisis of faith, learning to live with a new disability, and struggling to maintain control of one’s own will and mind. The story felt more grounded in the characters rather than being solely forced forward by the plot, which was a good change.
I liked that the audiobook had different narrators for the different POVs. It helped to distinguish the characters even more and allowed for their personalities to truly shine. Each of the narrators did an excellent job of bringing their character to life, and it made me wish I had listened to the audio of the first book. Overall, this was a really solid sequel in a very good fantasy series. If you enjoy reading about complex societies with tons of turmoil, fascinating powers that blend science and magic, and intriguing characters that go through the wringer, you’ll probably enjoy this book. It is definitely all building toward something huge, and I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book to find out where it’s all headed.