In my review of book 1 of the Sorcery Ascendant sequence, I compared it favorably with 90s fantasy and noted its potential. Book 2, Blood of Innocents, was by no means bad, but there was far too much wheel-spinning. Book 3, A Shattered Empire, builds on the first two books and brings the various plot threads together for a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. If you’re in the mood for traditional fantasy, Hogan is a writer to watch.
Once again, a dramatis personae is provided. I didn’t find it nearly as necessary this time, in part because I read books 2 and 3 much temporarily closer than books 1 and 2, but also because, at this point, the main characters have all been introduced and we’ve spent considerable time with most of them.
I complained that not enough happens in book 2. The good news is that book 2 works as a very effective setup for book 3. All of the development of all of those storylines now comes to fruition. The copy on the back cover uses the adjective “gritty,” not a word I would have chosen to describe the Sorcerer Ascendant before this book. But Caldan is learning of the terrible price to both of his sources of power. His enemies are only growing in power, and his friends will not all remain so. A seemingly inescapable noose is slowly tightening around his neck.
Will he escape? Read and find out!
A Shattered Empire is the best book in the trilogy by a fair margin. It’s not perfect. I was never enamored with Amerdan’s storyline, and it just sort of peters out. The corrupting influence of power is a theme and a metaphor, but more clumsily handled than it has been elsewhere.
4 of 5 Stars.
Disclosure: The publisher sent me a(n unsolicited) copy of Blood of Innocents.