The mage-marked granddaughter of a ruler of Vaskandar, Ryx was destined for power and prestige at the top of Vaskandran society. But her magic is broken; all she can do is uncontrollably drain the life from everything she touches, and Vaskandar has no place for a mage with unusable powers.
Then, one night, two terrible accidents befall her: Ryx accidentally kills a visiting dignitary in self-defense, activating a mysterious magical artifact sealed in an ancient tower in the heart of her family’s castle.
Ryx flees, seeking a solution to her deadly magic. She falls in with a group of unlikely magical experts investigating the disturbance in Vaskandar—and Ryx realizes that her family is in danger and her domain is at stake. She and her new colleagues must return to the family stronghold to take control of the artifact that everyone wants to claim—before it destroys the world.
THANKS MUCH TO THE FOLKS AT ORBIT BOOKS AND NETGALLEY FOR PROVIDING A COPY OF THIS FOR REVIEW PURPOSES, THIS DID NOT AFFECT THE CONTENT OF MY REVIEW IN ANY WAY.
Once again Melissa Caruso has given us an exciting tale that builds to an almost punishing pace that keeps us readers wondering how things could possibly work out in the end for our protagonist. I’ll admit I had a bit of slow start with this one, but I think that had more to do with what I was in the mood for reading than anything else because once I get past the 15% mark I was all in with this story. So glad to be back in this world!
At the start of the story we’re introduced to Ryx, our protagonist, and we learn certain key things about her–she’s lived a somewhat isolated life with her grandmother due to her magic literally sucking the life out of any living thing she comes in contact with, she’s kind of lonely even though she puts on a brave front, she loves her grandmother and her home and that’s where her loyalty lies. Caruso craftily establish these and other facets of Ryx’s personality early on through several events that occur as Ryx hurries through the castle preparing for two visiting delegations who are meeting on ‘neutral’ ground to hammer out some sort of peace deal.
The plot of this story kicks off when one thing goes very wrong and thus starts a series of rather unfortunate events that threaten the peace deal, the people Ryx is responsible for, and possibly all of Eruvia. In fact the plot can be summed up with Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Things go very, very wrong. And as more and more people arrive to the castle to make things even more complicated, Ryx suddenly finds herself in the middle of a chaotic swirl trying to solve several problems at once. The problems are like hydra heads though–every time she’s able to solve one, or make some sort of progress, eight others spring up that are even worse than the first one. If you find yourself reading this thinking ‘geez, what else could go wrong?’ you will find out that answer soon enough–trust me. Honestly, I found this aspect of the story really interesting. You can feel Ryx’s frustration as she’s trying to hold things together having to juggle a million and one things, trying to remember who knows what and who she can trust. As things begin to build toward the end it gives the story a sense of urgency that I appreciated. I love a story that makes me feel like catching my breath.
So, back to the characters because they’re always my favorite thing in a story. Ryx was a fun character to follow throughout the story. She’s one of my favorite types of characters–one through circumstances has had a crap lot in life so far and just wants friends and companionship, yearning for it like it’s something they’ll never have. There’s something about these types of characters that break my heart and makes me root for them because they deserve so much more than what they’ve been handed so far. I love Ryx and I loved watching her start to come into her own here, taking a more active role in her own life. All of the side characters in this were so interesting! I love everyone from the Rookery. I mean, they’re like a band of misfits who are all good at certain things and they’ve assembled into a crack team to solve magical mysteries throughout both The Serene Empire and Vaskandar. Each one of the members stands out on their own and I loved getting to know them. Also, the Rookery itself! Just the fact that there’s a legacy of things that happened in the prior series and it’s a joint venture such as this…my heart. <3<3<3
Of course there are lots of other characters as well. The story has a lot of players on the board! And they’re all pretty much here to mess up the day, even those that are trying to help the situation don’t seem to be immune from that. There are the delegates from The Serene Empire, the representatives of a the Witch Lord who has been beefing with The Serene Empire, Ryx’s family members popping by and making trouble, the castle staff, a representative of the Conclave, etc. And then there’s the Big Bads of which there are varying degrees. Who is the Big Bad? At first it’s hard to tell because things are getting lost in the chaos that’s been unleashed on the castle. And then you have the literal manifestation of chaos showing up later so…yeah. But rest assured there is a villain and there are also some maybe villains and there’s plenty of things that will carry over into the next book, I’m sure. I loved all of these characters and the way they were written. I love that some of them are clearly who you’re supposed to be rooting for or against and then there’s just a whoooooole lot of unknowns in the middle.
Overall The Obsidian Tower was a really fun book to read–it took me on a wild ride and it was a journey I was happy to go on. Can’t wait for the next book to see what further (mis)adventures lie ahead. 5/5 stars.