Published: 1st June 2013 by HarperVoyager
Format: Paperback, 480 pages
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Sierra has always battled to control her powers, but now her life and Isidro′s depend on keeping her skills hidden from the Akharians as they draw closer to Demon′s Spire. In the relics left by Ricalan′s last great mage, Isidro hopes to find the knowledge Sierra needs to master her powers, but instead uncovers his own long-buried talent for magecraft.
When Sierra′s untrainable powers turn destructive, she has nowhere to turn for help but to the uncertain mercy of an old enemy. What will Rasten do when she returns to his hands at last?
When Isidro believes he has lost all he loves, he finds comfort in the arms of the Akharian mage Delphine. But soon he is called into battle once again to stand against the greatest evil the north has ever known.
This book should be entitled “The Impossible Choices Plaguing my Favourite Characters, and the Heartache that Ensues.” Sierra, Isidro, Cam, Mira and Rasten were all put through so much throughout Black Sun Light My Way, it was kind of a relief when the book ended!
I thought the strongest element of the previous book was the characters, and this is again the case. Sierra continues to surprise me, willing to make extraordinary sacrifices for her make-shift family – the people who saved her from certain death in the last book. The character that surprised me is Isidro – I’d never really doubted his bravery nor his good-naturedness, but he shines throughout this novel. The author does a brilliant job of examining the motivations and psychology of all her characters, and even though the focus is firmly on Sierra, Isidro and Rasten, I love the glimpses we get into Cam and Mira’s relationship.
There’s a lot of blood, violence and torture in this book, as we get intimately acquainted with the rituals of Kell the Blood-Mage. Although I found it disturbing, and sometimes had to skip over the worst parts, I never felt it was gratuitous. Even the sexual violence served a purpose: to show the very real dangers the slaves faced at the hands of the Akharian Slavers, and to depict Kell’s complete dominance over Rasten. I was glad to find that Rasten became one of the key players in this instalment, and I feel like I have gotten to know him a lot better. He’s a complicated character – groomed as a Blood-Mage and prone to anger and violence, but he shows that he genuinely cares for Sierra.
The expansion of the world is another aspect I liked about Black Sun Light My Way – we first came upon our Riclan comrades in the full blast of Winter, and now, as the Thaw begins, we get to witness the new challenges that they face. I’d mistakenly believed that their troubles would lessen as the weather warmed up. The world-building is again impeccable, and I enjoyed the way that the Akharian and Riclan lifestyles were explained, especially when the Akharian mage Delphine suffered from culture shock.
Jo Spurrier has delivered another amazing book in Black Sun Light My Way, and fans of Winter Be My Shield are sure to enjoy it as much as I did. This series is also perfect for those looking for something outside of the usual sword-and-sorcery of high Fantasy, and it is a great entry point for newcomers to the genre.