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"An Ember in the Ashes" When Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.Learn more | More in Teen and Young Adult
Ever since Raffi and Galen contacted the Makers in their journey to Tasceron, they've had to stay one step ahead of the Watch and the warlord who hunts them. While celebrating the feast of Flainsdeath, they are given a vision that suggests the Interrex --- heir to their broken empire --- may still exist. If so, she is in terrible danger from the Watch. With no direction beyond what is glimpsed in their vision, Galen and Raffi set out to find her.
The Watch also seeks the Interrex with Raffi's former friend and companion, Carys, leading the hunt. Carys has her own reasons for returning to the Watch. She wants to find out who she was before the organization turned her into a ruthless spy. But the only place that will have a record of her origins is in the Tower of Song, once the seat of the Makers now held by the Watch. The Tower of Song contains all the records of the Watch, and in this broken palace, there are also records of the time before. Plagued by rain and despair, its labyrinth of corridors harbors more than secrets. It also hides monsters, which are as dangerous and deadly as the Watch Carys still serves.
THE LOST HEIRESS is the second book in Catherine Fisher's Relic Master series, which is being released in four consecutive installments this summer. Book Two deepens the mysteries established in THE DARK CITY. As Galen and Raffi travel across the broken landscape, they come to the Unfinished Lands, a place where all creation is being undone into destruction and chaos. Hidden within these lands is Artelan's Well, a place apart from the world where keepers go to gain wisdom or be healed. But it also harbors the Pits of Maar where the Margrave, a creature of pure evil, is rumored to hide.
I had a lot of questions about the plot of this story from the first book...which doesn't give you many answers. Truthfully, I still have a lot of questions, but the second book in this clever series is much better than the first. The relationships between characters are more fully defined. We meet some very interesting new ones and the action and use of magic / magical creatures gets more attention here. This book is much more exciting than the first...which set down much of the world building for the series.
You still don't get much backstory. No answers to: Who WERE the Makers? Why did they leave Anara? How was The Watch set up? Who leads The Watch? What purpose do the relics serve for the people of Anara? How was The Oder formed? Who were The Order? Why was it so important to "keep" relics? Is Kest a Maker and WHY did he create all these evil creatures?
These unanswered questions leave the reader not knowing WHO exactly The Oder is or WHO/WHAT they're fighting against. That makes it hard for the reader to become emotionally invested because the "stakes" of the story haven't been clearly defined...even going into the 3rd book. Just saying..."The world will end if we fail." is not enough.
I would also like to have seen a stronger emphasis put on how the Unfinished Lands are spreading, undoing creation and ultimately consuming the whole planet...some urgency, a "ticking clock" placed on the story.
Fisher is a great writer who keeps her story moving. She's very inventive and has a great sense of atmosphere. The downside is the structure and setups. You just don't get them. I hesitate to compare her to J.K. Rowling, but her work (so far) reminds me of that.Read more ›
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The Lost Heiress, Catherine Fisher's follow up to The Dark City, picks up the action a short while after the close of the first book. Galen, Raffi, and the Sekoi have left the city of Tasceron behind while Carys has returned to the Watch. The book opens with a bang when Raffi and the others steal back the blue box relic from Alberic--the dwarf thief-lord who had stolen it from them in book one. Some time after that, Carys informs them that the Watch has discovered that the Emperor--long ago deposed--has a living granddaughter. The story then splits in two. One half follows Galen, Raffi, and the Sekoi as they try to find the titular character, all while avoiding both the Watch and Alberic, who is hot on their trail seeking revenge. Meanwhile, Carys is posted to the Tower of Song, a center of Watch activity and record keeping and once the summer palace of the Emperor. There she hopes to learn more about her own past, even as she wrestles with just which side she is on: The Order of the Keepers, the Watch, or simply her own.
While still a solid read, The Lost Heiress doesn't quite match the excellence of the first Relic Master book. One problem is the premise spelled out by the title. The lost heir to a crown sought by one side to reinstate and the other to kill is a pretty familiar plot point, and while it only is the heavy focus of action toward the very end, it does drive most of what the characters do and so the whole book is a bit undermined by the cliché. Another problem is the book's episodic nature which has Raffi's group traveling nearly non-stop and so we as readers seldom stay in one place long enough to get a feel for it; the quick movement from one setting to another undercuts the drama of each separate scene as well as the worldbuilding of each separate place.Read more ›
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Catherine Fisher is the New York Times best-selling author of Sapphique and Incarceron. She is "one of today's best fantasy writers," according to the London Independent. An acclaimed novelist and poet, she has written many fantasy books for young people, including The Oracle Prophecy series.