Any book that has me struggling not to squeak on public transport and then has me nearly miss my bus stop is going to get a big thumbs-up. I loved Aliette de Bodard’s introduction to her vision of a blasted, magic-torn Paris in The House of Shattered Wings and I delighted in the chance to return to it and peer into one of the darker Fallen Houses.
Madeleine is back in House Hawthorn, terrified of her future and unable to move on from her past. When Asmodeus makes it clear she can choose to die but not the manner of her dying, her fear drives her to once again swear allegiance. But can she be a faithful servant of House Hawthorn?
Philippe is living in the Annamite community, surreptitiously using his magic to heal and trying to avoid attention while he tries to find a way to resurrect Isabelle.
Asmodeus himself is seeking alliance with the dragon kingdom beneath the Seine, but the rong have their own issues: a rebellion and an insidious plague of addiction to angel essence. When his envoy disappears, he sends another - and Madeleine - to seal the deal.
We also meet new characters, get to know old enemies better and uncover unexpected secrets. I found this a gripping read from start to finish, just about approachable as a stand alone but all the richer if you have the context of House of Shattered Wings. The dragon kingdom and House Hawthorn are fascinating contrasts to Silverspires.
I look forward to whatever the future may hold for poor, battered Paris and her inhabitants.Full review
4.5 starsI received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review