I finally read Redemption, the second book in the author’s Legends of Lightning series! This is embarrassing considering that I not only had an early copy but the Kindle preordered too, so this is a disclaimer that I absolutely suck.
Redemption picked up not too far after the end of Hidden Realm, with Esther and the other Huntsmen reeling over Oisin’s loss and the Queens dealing with their own problems. Overall this was a stronger book and it was awesome to see the growth between the two novels
Bookish Quick Facts:
- Title: Redemption
- Series: Legends of Lightning #2
- Author: T.R. Slauf
- Publisher & Release: Self, 11/02/21
- Length: 374 pages
- Rate & Recommend: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ for dark fantasy and twisted fairytale fans!
Here is the Synopsis via GoodReads:
Esther escaped the horrors of Castle Rose, but at a cost. Believing her lost guide is still alive deep in the bowels of Adam’s dungeons, she aims to save him, but the other Huntsman are not so sure he’s alive… Desperate to rescue Oisin, Esther makes tempestuous allegiances with dangerous foes. Walking a fine line between enemies and allies, life and death, she rages war against the monsters of the Hidden Realm.
Esther’s journey continues in this heart wrenching sequel as she navigates the politics and grudges of ageless Queens. By night, she’s haunted by what she’s seen fighting in a war that was never hers. What she’s done to survive in the Hidden Realm will haunt her forever and she’s terrified of losing herself in the darkness without a star to guide her. Will Esther be able to save Oisin and the lands before the shadows of her mind overtake her spirit?
I definitely liked Redemption more than Hidden Realm. Now that the story is more streamlined, the plot and action felt stronger and the characters had believable arcs.
Esther had to deal with the PTSD from the torture, separation, and worse from her imprisonments. It was also interesting to see how the soldiers responded to war that hadn’t seen battle before. One particularly affected character – I could have sworn it was a nod to the Venture Bros henchmen 21/24 dynamic, but the author said no – it was particularly grisly though. Trauma affects people in many ways and this book took a deep dive down some dark paths
I think the character (and world) building got a big, necessary boost too. With more background on the Queens and politics, personalities, alliances, and a bit more history, tbe plot was carried a long way.
I liked spending more time with the Queens to see how truly twisted they are. A few personalities and developing characters surprised me and kept the story interesting. A lot of things actually kept it interesting, such as betrayal on more betrayal, political maneuvering, an exploration of various forms of fanaticism, and meeting more magical creatures. T.R. got creative with the torture too – this wasn’t splatterpunk but definitely grimdark
After a chat with the author, let me give Indie authors a piece of advice: so I was reading the Kindle version and felt like the book needed a solid proof-read before the final went out. There were up to two typos on some pages and honestly it was enough to throw me off a tad. This is now the second time an author told me that they spent good money on an editing service. I think that all the people do is run the manuscript through a spell check, without reading for context or grammar or other non spell check errors. The result makes me think that 1) these services should be ashamed of themselves and 2) authors would be better off using a private editor with good references, or even asking a friend with a critical eye.
Now, that said – I did dock a star for readability affecting immersion at times, but, I would still 100% recommend for fans of dark fantasy and twisted fairy tales! As I said it was a much stronger story than book one and had many hard but important themes to unravel. You will hurt for these characters! Personally I can’t wait for the next book, this ended on a ridiculously suspenseful note!