By: Jon Skovron
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit Books
WARNING: There will be spoilers for The Ranger of Marzana
The Queen of Izmoroz is the second book in Jon Skovron epic fantasy series, The Goddess of War. While it was better, it still was lacking in drawing me into the story. The characters are, for the most part, the same. I saw little growth in their arcs, and once again with the characters falling flat, I unfortunately didn’t care for the book. It is rated a half star higher because of Galina’s character. She was the only one who I felt changed and became a little more interesting and had more depth. Sebastian and Sonya did not really change, even though the events of the story did. It did make for an interesting story that Sebastian and Sonya are on opposite sides in this war.
At the end of The Ranger of Marzana, we know that the Imperial Army, including Sebastian and Irina, have fled Izmoroz. Sonya, having convinced the northern tribe to fight for them, drove out the Imperial Army. Unfortunately, they will not leave. Sonya, once hailed as a hero, faces the wrath of the people, and she leaves with Jorge and heads to Raiz. This leaves an opening for Galina to step in to deal with the problem. It is Galina’s growth from Sebastian’s fiancé to the force that is trying freeing Izmoroz, that was the most interesting to see. She is smart, cunning, and will do what is necessary to save her people.
We saw Sebastian use his magic to level a town in Izmoroz which and horrified Sonya. It killed many innocent people, alienated Sonya, and haunts Sebastian. He vows to use his magic only for good and to help. Once again, I just never felt, other than a few times, that Sebastian was an all-powerful sorcerer. Both Sebastian and Sonya never moved forward in their character growth. Jorge and Blaine are both in this book, and I still find them very engaging characters.
There were elements that did work very well in The Queen of Izmoroz. There was some exciting court intrigue in the capital of the Imperial Empire, where Sebastion and Irina are staying at the palace. The main antagonist, Franko Vittorio, who was Sebastian’s superior officer, becomes quite an interesting character. Some of what happened with him were a little too strange, but overall, his character mixed with the political situation did make for some good reading. Irina is a savvy, smart woman who navigated the politics quite well. This is the time her character was at its best, though she still does not show much emotion.
Sonya’s travels with Jorge to his city with Raiz was also very good. Raiz is the opposite of Izmoroz, which is cold and, for Jorge, miserable weather. Raiz is warm, sunny, and colorful. It is an artsy city, where there is some magic in the art. I thought that was unique and was woven well into the narrative of the story of Sonya and Jorge in Raiz.
Overall, The Queen of Izmoroz was a better entry into the series. However, I still didn’t connect with the story or the characters. I know there are readers who will love it if you enjoyed The Ranger of Marzana.
Summary (from NetGalley)
In this thrilling epic fantasy, Sonya has won the battle and brought a foreign army to free her country from imperial rule, but now she has to face her allies—who may have other goals.
The first battle is over, but war yet looms on the horizon. Sonya and her allies–the foreign Uaine and their armies of the undead—have beaten back the imperial soldiers from the capital city. Now they have the rest of the country to free.
Meanwhile, her brother the famed wizard Sebastian has retreated with the imperial forces to regroup and lick his wounds. Betrayed by his sister and his wife, the beautiful noblewoman Galina, he will regain control of his life and his country at any cost.
Galina, his former betrothed, has her own visions for the land, and the political savvy to make them a reality. But a fledgling oligarchy, a foreign army, and the whims of a self-proclaimed servant of death stand in her way—power must be seized, and a queen must rise, before it’s too late.
Sonya has brought a foreign army to free her country from imperial rule, but her allies may have other goals in the second book of this thrilling epic fantasy trilogy from Jon Skovron.
My sincere thanks to Orbit Books for a copy of the book and NetGalley for providing me with an eBook in exchange for an honest review.
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