Book review: Crown of the Sundered Empire

Continuing where Masters of Deception left off, this side-series of JC Kang’s fantasy series took me for another fast-paced story with no shortage of action, twists, and humor.

Just like Masters of deception, this book is quite compact with its plot, though it’s split between two places, not just one.

First part of the plot follows Tomas the fisherman boy, who uses his wits to make the village believe he has a sight, until the nearby town comes under attack from Bovyans (who are one of the main antagonists of the whole fictional universe) – and thus endanger his village as well. And the Bovyans give him a hell because of their superstitions – believing his mismatched eyes are a sign of power they fear, they take one of his eyes. Thus, he plans his revenge, though he struggles with his own hard decisions. That, however, makes his plot realistic.

As he leads two of the Bovyans around, hoping to lose them instead of taking them to his village, he gravs a hold of a magical eye that… gives him quite a significant help, though it takes Tomas some time to understant it. Unfortunately, all the reader is left with about the magic eye’s source or purpose are Tomas’ dark speculations. Given a similarity with another artifact mentioned in the third Dragon Songs book, I guess there will be a definitive answer somewhere in the series – but it’s not here.

Despite being set up more by the book’s description, Tomas’ plotline seems to take the background, especially in the first half. It also seems, until the later part, that the only connection to the rest of the story are the Bovyans, but there’s more to it revealed later.

The second part of the plot focuses on Jie and Aryn where Masters of Deception left off. However, most of the characters – the diviner, the two sorceresses, and the paladins, aren’t present in the book (but are mentioned at the end, so I guess they’ll appear in a future sequel to this book).

Instead, Jie’s part of the plot focuses on Teleri plans to disrupt the three houses amng the Solaris’ chosen, which sticks true to the mystery part of the larger story. There’s quite some intrigue and uncovering the plots and betrayals (some of them executed by exploting the wishes of the involved nobility) keeps this part of the plot going strong. The finale also gets quite a nice skirmish.

Read date: 7.-15.2.2021
Published: 9.8.2019
Goodreads/Amazon rating: 4,30/4,8
My rating: 80%
Length: 599 pages (Kindle Edition)
My highlights

Compared to the other books in the series so dar, this felt like the ending was more a cliffhanger than the others, partially because Tomas’ plot doesn’t seem to be fully wrapped up, and partially due to the unsolved questions raised by the other half of the plot (including the absence of other characters that appeared in the previous book). On the other hand, the book manegs to take a nice jab on the sometimes-confusing amount of similar names (see my highlights).

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