Thomas is now the ruler of Magnus, the city won with a bloodless battle. He has everything he could ever dream of, and possess knowledge from his mother, Sarah and her ancient library that greatly surpass the military knowledge of his time. He sits on the wisdom from centuries past, but there is a dark, unknown power that seems to follow his every step. An evil he can't begin to understand haunts his every move and every breath he takes.
As the Orphan King, Thomas is seemingly beginning to loose his grip on the power that holds his impenetrable city together. The Earl of York asks him to join leagues with him and fight the Scots, and Thomas takes the men of Magnus with him to do battle. But along the way, mysterious events serve to confuse Thomas even more concerning his role as the leader of Magnus, and enemies are encamped all around him. Will he unknowingly concede to the side of evil? Will the decision he makes cost him his control over the city that his mother spent a lifetime trying to teach him how to win back as an Immortal?
As always, Brouwer leaves us with a wonderful conclusion to the story, but also leaves a few crumbs to interest us in the next installment to the series. As I've said before, this time period always leaves me with much to be desired. But Brouwer makes everything so real, it as if you were there beside Thomas, Katherine, Hawkwood, the Earl - all of them. My favorite realistic description is the little flea cages, because while it's impossible to conjure up something we will never experience; Brouwer makes it all happen from his pen to our couch. All in all a wonderful novel, and though short, it makes you want to just start it all over again.
This book was provided for free by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Plot: This book had much more to it than the first book in this series. There were several plot twists and unexpected turns throughout the story. It continues perfectly where the first book leaves off, and ends at a place where you want to immediately read the next book.
Characters: The character development wasn't as good as the first book. Since you are already familiar with most of the characters, there was not a lot to be mentioned about the characters themselves, only plot advancement. I don't necessarily think it's a bad thing though, since this is the second book, you already know about the characters what you need to.
Themes: This book really deals with good versus evil and the struggle to sometimes know which side is in fact good and which evil. Thomas is forced to try to understand "those of the strange symbol" while at the same time not really knowing anything about the Immortals.
Emotion: As with the first book, I did not think that there was much depth to the emotion. Towards the end, you read of Katherine's emotion's towards being bandaged and not being able to allow Thomas to see her for who she really is. I don't feel, however, that this is enough to compensate for the entire book.
Overall: I really enjoyed reading this book. It was another quick read that kept me wanting to know what was going to happen to Thomas and to Magnus and what each side of these opposing societies was going to do next. The last words in the book leave you in anticipation for what is to come in the next books.
---I received this book for free from the publisher for this review.---
Title: Fortress of Mist, 2nd book in Merlin's Immortals series
I will be very honest in my review of this book: I really was quite disappointed.
I will allow that I have not read the first book in this series (though I did try; the book wasn't available in any libraries near me), so maybe had I read the first, it would change some of my opinions, but not all.
I felt like this book never truly 'got-going'. I kept waiting to feel engrossed in it and just for something to make sense. Unfortunately that never really happened.
However, there were two thing that I did like.
First was that I was impressed/intrigued by Thomas' battle tactics - the part with the arrows, that is.
And Second, the character, Gervaise has some good qualities and potential. He shows wisdom, but unfortunately, he was not in this book a ton.
I do understand that perhaps the intention of the author is to make it an on-going series, so you need to read all of them, but in my opinion (and keep in mind, all of this really is only *my* opinion) each single book should at least show some sort of clarity for the reader, and encouragement as well. Especially from a Christian author.
Another thing I was not keen on at all was all of the 'secrets' involved. That part made me uncomfortable. It all seemed rather 'dark', even those who I assume are the 'good-guys'. There is a fine-line between Fantasy and Sorcery. Anything that gets on that fine-line makes me very uncomfortable. I know sorcery wasn't necessarily included in this book (I think it is warned against in the book, but not overly clear about that), but there was just a lot of cloaked-darkness I thought, and I didn't like that.
So yes, I was not really impressed with this book. I was expecting something like "The Knights of Arrethtrae" and it obviously wasn't that, but even that aside, I wouldn't necessarily recommend it at this stage.
I received this book throughing the Blogging for Books program.
This book wasn't all that great. As a sequel, it should be at least on level with the first book, which I don't think it was. I'm highly disappointed with the quality of the writing. The plot-line was okay, if a little confusing at times. It was mostly the quality of the writing that was below par.
I got this book free from Multnomah Publishing for the purposes of this review, which is my own, uninfluenced opinion.
Sigmund Brouwer is a brilliant author. When I was in middle school, I attended one of his writing seminars, and since then I have read a few of his novels, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed. When I saw his name on the list of books available for review, I grabbed it.
I didn't realize when I did that Fortress of Mist is actually the second in the Merlin's Immortals trilogy. I tried to find the first book, The Orphan King, but to no avail. I was afraid not having read the first book would affect my enjoyment of the second. But Brouwer, being the excellent writer that he is, kept me in the know without spoiling the first book. There were pieces of information I was missing, but he gave me just enough to understand what was going on even while I grew more curious about the first installment of the story.
The story itself was gripping. This was definitely a page-turner. The plot was pleasingly complex, well-thought out, and organized, so I didn't get confused with random sub-plotlines. The characters in it were also well-developed. Thomas, the main character and ruler of Magnus, was believably deep. He was smart, and acted like he had everything together, but he also had many doubts about his past and his character. He was brave, but I saw his fear underneath it. He had a good balance of strength and vulnerability.
Most of the other main characters had the same balance to a lesser extent, but I wasn't given as much background on them as I was on Thomas, so some of them were hard to understand. Thomas's lady love was especially difficult - her motives and true feelings were almost impossible to discern because her actions seemed so random. Maybe I wasn't looking hard enough, but I think a reading of the first book would do tons to clear that up.
DISCLAIMER: The next paragraph talks about Brouwer's use of magic in the book. This discussion cannot be had without a little bit of a spoiler. If you don't want to know Thomas's secret weapon, skip the next paragraph. (However, this was one of the best parts of the book.)
One thing that points to Brouwer's ability was his use of magic. I like fantasy as much as the next girl (and I love Harry Potter), but sometimes magic in books can be hokey, especially if they are set in earlier times like this book is. However, Brouwer uses magic in a unique way. Thomas has one main weapon of his own - knowledge. Somehow in the first installment he gains access to a set of books. These books are about science and military tactics and history, from what I read. Thomas hides them away and uses the information in them to thwart his enemies. Once, near the end of the book, Magnus, his kingdom, is being attacked and Thomas needs a diversion of some sort. He uses chemistry to create clouds of smoke and special effects that frighten the attackers. The average person from the Middle Ages would not know of these chemical tactics, so to the soldiers it seemed like magic or sorcery. This is how Brouwer threw in the fantastical magic while still making it believable.
Brouwer's storytelling is great. I am definitely going to go back and read the first book, and I'll be waiting for the last one. He leaves just enough loose ends to leave me wanting more. I heartily recommend this.
I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multomah Publishing Group in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.