Four years have passed since Lidan’s world was ripped apart, and time is running out to change her father’s mind about the succession before the bargain with her mother expires. Torn between what she wants and what she knows is right, she is faced with an impossible choice; will her brother live, or will he die?
Within the walls of the Hidden Keep, Ranoth holds his secrets close as he tries to harness his wild magic. But when life in the Keep descends into chaos, he is cast once more into the outside world, forced upon a southward path toward unknown lands and untold danger.
With Ran set on seeking justice and revenge, and Lidan fighting to find her feet and follow her heart, journeys will converge, and the ghosts of a past thought long dead will rise.
So, first a preface because I really loved the first book in this series and I was so surprised by how much I loved it because it has two things working against my personal (rather stupid) biases: it’s epic fantasy and it’s self-published. I’m really picky about taking chances with either of those and this is both. That being said, wow, Blood of Heirs, amazing. I loved it. I’m happy to say that this sequel continues my love for this series and for Alicia’s writing.
Like the first in the series, this book follows our two protagonists, in two different parts of the world, each not even aware of the other’s existence as they live their lives and deal with various things–fleeing magician hunters, life at a safe haven, life on a plains battling strange creatures, dealing with magical powers and how to control them, tribal alliances and navigating family connections, etc. I love both of these protagonists so much and each of their stories. I love how it alternates between their stories and just when I am like ‘omg what’s gonna happen?!’ it switches POV. This brought a fabulous tension and excitement to the story and also kept the pace up–I was eager to continue and found it hard to put down.
Most of all, I continue to love these characters. This may be one of the few times you’ll see me say this but I actually loved the time jump and that this book takes place four years after the first one. The characters have had a lot of growth during that time, and all that is conveyed to us expertly by the author, shown to us by their interactions with others and where they’re at in their lives now, how their daily routines are, etc.
Both Lidan and Ranoth are written in such ways that puts you in their shoes and lets you empathize with them. You feel for them even when they might not be acting decently. But, the thing is, they are decent people who want to do what’s right and that’s one of the reasons it’s so easy to root for them. Each of them has their own things they’re dealing with, but they also each see injustice happening and want to end that, even if it means it’s not in the own best interests. Lidan has a complicated relationship with her family (well, so does Ranoth for that matter but Lidan’s family is very much at the forefront here); her father is not above using her to better his alliances even though it’s clear he also loves her. She loves her little brother who is also her rival. Lidan’s mother, meanwhile, continues to be despicable and yet has some sort of hold over her. I love the complexities of these relationships she has to navigate, all while trying to stay true to herself in a position where that might not be possible. Ranoth, on the other hand, is dealing with more of a quest. He’s been safe for four years but suddenly that safety is upended and his only real way forward is to figure out the answer to a mystery, and so he sets off to find out answers.
I’ve been waiting since the previous book for the part where these two character’s stories would converge and I’m not going to come out and spoil anything but let’s just say I’m extremely happy with the way this epic is progressing. The connecting thread between the two that was hinted at in the first book is front and center here and I’m all about it. The story easily could have been started near where this book ends, but the I applaud the author for taking it back further, letting us get to know the characters and their stories, their histories with their people and their lands, showing us how they’ve grown since they were children. Because of that choice we get to see the plot play out in an interesting way and I really appreciate this aspect of the storytelling.
Overall, I loved this book! The characters continue to be interesting, more of the mystery is revealed, and it had a great pace that built to a fantastic climax. I’m only sad because now I have to wait until the next book comes out and I want to keep reading! 5/5 stars.