Wall of Spears by Duncan Lay

February 28, 2014 Reviews 0 ★★★★★

Wall of Spears by Duncan LayWall of Spears (Empire of Bones #3) by Duncan Lay
Published: January 20th 2014 by HarperVoyager
Format: Paperback, 560 pages
Genres: Fantasy
Source: Publisher
Goodreads BooktopiaBookworld
5 Stars

It is time to decide who will rule the lands and control the magic.

Will it be Forland, with its lust for bloody conquest? Will it be Dokuzen, with its dreams of a slave empire, or will it be Vales, armed only with Rhiannon and her magic - and the truth about why the rulers of Dokuzen claim to be elves?

Into this mix comes Sendatsu. Rejected by his true love, hated by his father, hunted by his former best friend, he now burns with the desire to build a better world for his children.

Betrayal follows lies which follows more betrayal as the true power behind the vicious struggle is revealed. The fate of all the lands rests on a sword's edge ...

Wall of Spears is the culmination of the story which began with the elf Sendatsu uncovering a dangerous secret in Bridge of Swords. It follows our cast of characters as they struggle to broker peace between humans and elves, although their efforts lead them relentlessly into battle with Sumiko’s and her army.

Lay’s gorgeous world building is in evidence again, with the backdrop seamlessly weaving itself around the characters and action. I love immersing myself in the worlds that Lay creates because of how he crafts them. It’s absolutely masterful –  he imparts all the necessary details about his characters, their culture and beliefs, the landscape around them, and their general way of life without info-dumping or bogging down the story. This is story-telling at the highest quality, dear readers!

As with the other books in this series, Duncan Lay sets out to bamboozle his readers with plans within plans and betrayals masked by other betrayals. The motivations of the characters are complex (but also understandable), and I like that the author has made them so realistic that I could predict what most of them would do in different situations. Because I could predict how many characters would behave, I had an idea of how the plot would progress, but the author still managed to surprise me and bring a lot excitement and intrigue to the narrative.

The romantic threads between the characters are again integral to the plot, with many of them making decisions with their hearts instead of their heads and then getting into all sorts of trouble. The Gaibun-Asami-Sendatsu drama is a little grating after a while, mainly because there’s only so many times I could stand the two men trying to persuade Asami to their side (she’s not a puppy, guys! She won’t come to you cos you have the best treats.) View Spoiler »

As they clambered down from the cart, Sendatsu swore he could see the gasping donkeys looking at each other in disbelief at what they had done.

I think my favourite aspect of Wall of Spears, and indeed, the series, are the action sequences. It’s not a gory book, by any means, but neither does the narrative shy away from the realities of war and death. The blood, the intestines, and smell are present in every battle scene. The choreography with swords is marvellous, and I enjoyed the sequences that featured bows and arrows (you’d be surprised how many authors forget that archers can run out of arrows!) The best scene, without a doubt, is an epic, very long chase featuring a cart pulled by donkeys.

Wall of Spears is a must read for those who enjoyed the previous two books of the series, but I also urge readers new to fantasy, or perhaps those tired of reading the same kinds of fantasy, to give the Empire of Bones series a try.

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