Wow! What a rollercoaster of emotion this book puts the reader through.
We see Gastar back to its once former glory. Order is restored and war with demonic creatures from the Hell is over, with the greatest threat to the city being the destructive battle between Shevata and Goldeon.
The story leads you through Shevata’s journey of understanding of what it means to be human, brilliantly symbolised in the penultimate chapter.
Cole has kept undertones of the importance of the debt we owe to our ancestors who gave the ultimate sacrifice in wars previous to our existence, complimenting the first book fantastically.
She has also captured the eventuality of societal evolution perfectly.
As any society would, we see how Gastar has developed through the years; Morality, system of government (reflecting more of a republic than a monarchy) and even in Morrisa’s order to keep Gastar’s dark history from the public’s ears mimics how a society would develop, keeping this fantasy book as real and believable as possible.
Even the characters of Goldeon and Shevata have under gone much in the way of development which one would expect over the centuries, even down to the weaponry and abilities they yield, which has become more advanced, despite the detached lives they’ve been living since the last book.
One of the beautiful things about this book is the expansion of Cole’s ability to develop human relationships based on love and friendship. This was seen briefly in the first book with Jonas’ relationship with his sons, however in this book, she goes much deeper, heavily involving Peter, Stephen and Emeria’s care for each other in dictating the actions of Goldeon and Shevata and also in the way the plot resolves.
Cleverly, by situating such power in the children, Cole keeps the two main characters more complex than most authors can.
Despite both bodies not aging, one would assume their minds, being hundreds of years old, would be mature. Though this is the case when it comes to their confidence levels, their immaturity occasionally comes through in the form of youthful wit, banter and naivety. This could be a deliberate reflection by Cole upon today’s society, questioning whether or not ‘maturity’ is a social construct.
Like the previous book, Cole also addresses the issue of the morality of war, although a different aspect of war. This time, she covers the ethics behind leaders sending those who are lower in social status to fight when the risk of danger is higher, almost as if they were less important.
Another book beautifully written book by Cole, this time, charged with humanity and emotion. This book succeeds in provoking much thought and addressing moral and ethical issues. This book’s greatest asset is Cole’s ability to highlight the qualities it takes to be human; ironically, in a world of immortals, vampires and magic.