*I requested to review a copy of this audiobook for an honest review from the author or narrator.
Pope Livia looks to return home and unseat Carl as Pope, but will people accept her? Her witchy deeds to protect her Brown Cloaks and herself have been seen as a grace from the Gardener, but what if they knew the truth. Felix is hunted by all sides of the law and finds a new ally against his wife and her partner, but he has to stay alive to clear his name and leave to find his love, Renata. But first he'll take care of Aita and Lodovico so he and Renata won't be hunted.
The Empire has pulled all but 1/3 of his army from Belle Terre to fight in the desert, a Crusade the Emperor is determined to fight. The Terrai take advantage of the movement and attack to take back their own. Owl finds trouble in her coven, and is more determined to take over as the Mother witch.
All need a strong weapon to win the battles before them, that aren't looking good. A few find the weapons in them or around them. Others know of one that was hidden away years ago, one that was to powerful to use then. But now.... it may be able to be handled. But who will get to it first?
Susannah has a magnificent talent in the way she holds suspense and my interest in her voice. From the first words of this story, she has gripped my attention and pulled me in. I don't know if I can express how much I love Susannah's work in this series. I love listening to Susannah as she voices each character giving them an individual sound and feel. They all are written with vastly different personalities, and Susannah brings that alive for us.
Everything is as we left it at the end of Instruments of Control. In turmoil. I love how the story starts right where we left off. There is no rehashing of what has happened. But Craig drops reminders as the characters think or talk of where they are going or to do next, easily bringing past events to mind.
We get to see the story from a few different POV's, but it's extremely easy to follow who's who. In this world, we need all POV's we can be given as there is so many different sides that are touched with the waves of change.
These characters each have their own agenda in life, their own person they are looking to unseat or kill. By this book, they all have dark agendas they are fighting for. It's a beautiful thing! All their lives interlace with one another and actions against one affects many more, whether for good or bad is yet to be determined.
We get deeper into the witch life with Nessa. We see an ages old tradition of a Coven Knight brought back and how the coven works, or I should say is working and should be working in Nessa's eyes. We see rituals performed and the witch side of the story come to light here. I am surprised to see (and dare I think) Nessa growing fond of Mari and who she's created her to be.
Livia, I want to applaud her and say, You go girl! She's learned a lot and some of it dire, but she's a strong woman and will do well for all while she's around.
There is trouble stewing with the crusade in the desert, and crusaders trying to get there. All ties back to Lodovico Marchetti and what his plans are. These plans affect so many people, and people are starting to get a glimpse of what he's doing. But what is his end game? What is Lodovico really working toward?
Felix is reminded what he's fighting for. Love. For his love and safety of his love, Renata. He works to remain the man he is for Renata, but life pushes in other ways the longer he stays in Mirenze. Renata has found a new strength in herself. Renata fights through physical battles in the previous book and this one. But now, she sees she can fight for what she wants. And she's ready to do just that.
The biggest thing I've been waiting for, what's in the alum mines at Winter's Reach that the witches have been hiding. Yes. We learn what it is! What I learn of it does not let down. It's told in a way that it's as terrible as I had hoped.
The growth and fall of all these characters, WOW! There was so much thought put into this world, characters, internal and external battles and it shows. Excellent job!
Who is on the good side? Um... I don't know if there's a good side anymore. All have blurred the line between right and wrong. All just want what they want, whether it's peace to live with a loved one, money, power, control, or all these things.
Good grief! I am captured by Craig's writing and Susannah's vocal talent. What a dynamic duo this is! Craig seamlessly crafts a world where waves of change ripple through all the classes and divisions of the world, and we see the splashes it makes in each persons plans to better themselves. Craig does not leave us wanting, but keeps us dreading when we have to put the book down. We get all the masterful schemes, partnerships, fights, and deaths.
I don't know if it's possible to love this series any more. With each book, I fall more and more for this world and characters with the turmoil they live through.