Hello, everyone! Today I’m reviewing Blade of Dream by Daniel Abraham, the second book in the Kithamar trilogy. I enjoyed the first book, Age of Ash, quite a bit and have been looking forward to picking this one up.
From New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed author Daniel Abraham, co-author of The Expanse, comes the second novel in a monumental epic fantasy trilogy that unfolds within the walls of a single great city, over the course of one tumultuous year.
“An atmospheric and fascinating tapestry, woven with skill and patience.” – Joe Abercrombie, New York Times bestselling author of A Little Hatred
Kithamar is a center of trade and wealth, an ancient city with a long, bloody history where countless thousands live and their stories endure.
This is Garreth’s.
Garreth Left is heir to one of Kithamar’s most prominent merchant families. The path of his life was paved long before he was born. Learn the family trade, marry to secure wealthy in-laws, and inherit the business when the time is right. But to Garreth, a life chosen for him is no life at all.
In one night, a chance meeting with an enigmatic stranger changes everything. He falls in love with a woman whose name he doesn’t even know, and he will do anything to find her again. His search leads him down corridors and alleys that are best left unexplored, where ancient gods hide in the shadows, and every deal made has a dangerous edge.
The path that Garreth chooses will change the course of not only those he loves, but the entire future of Kithamar’s citizens.
In Kithamar, every story matters — and the fate of the city is woven from them all.
***Thank you to Orbit Books for providing a copy of the book via NetGalley. My review contains my honest thoughts about my reading experience.***
This author’s ability to weave together various story threads into such a rich reading experience is truly astounding. It is even better because it sneaks up on you. Things may appear slow at first, but please trust that the groundwork is being laid for something amazing. This trend in the writing makes me incredibly excited to see what the last book has in store because I’m certain it will be an epic culmination of everything that’s come before.
I was surprised by how well this book worked on its own. It covered the same time period as the first installment, which meant the overarching story was the same. However, the perspectives were completely different. Whereas the first book followed characters from the slums of Kithamar, this one was written from the perspective of members of the elite, including the heir to the throne. It was interesting to see the story play out from their point of view, especially since they turned out to be just as trapped by their roles in the city as the poor, just in different ways. Much of this story was about two individuals trying to escape/change the roles that society had set for them and searching for who they wanted to be. I enjoyed their love story, as well, and appreciated how the bond of their genuine connection was portrayed and held so much power. There were plenty of bits where the story of these characters overlapped with those from the first book, but it never felt like reading the first book would be absolutely necessary. Having the prior knowledge would undoubtedly deepen the reading experience, but this was definitely a discrete story in its own right.
As with the first book, the real main character was the city of Kithamar. I loved how the author, once again, was able to make the setting feel so alive. The soul of the city felt like a seething presence just below the surface that loomed over everything happening to the people living there. I was enthralled by the exploration of the bastardization of the communal compact that serves as the bedrock of any society. What should have been a force for the betterment of the citizens was twisted into something ugly and destructive by a hunger for power and control. It was thought-provoking and fascinating to read.
Overall, this is a great series so far. If you don’t mind a slow start and the work necessary to understand how the different stories thread together, you’ll probably enjoy this one. I’ve never read anything quite like it with multiple independent stories all telling different angles of the same narrative. It feels almost like a puzzle. I’m looking forward to seeing how it all comes together in the last book. Therefore, I rate this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.