Tuesday, May 17, 2016
At the end of Radiance, the Queen of Haradis, in her bid for power, opened the gates and unleashed the galla. Demons from the underworld that devour all those in their path. Eidolon begins at this point, with the Royal palace at Haradis, the royal family, including the Queen, the King, Brishen's brother, and his heirs, succumbing to the galla. A lucky few escape, including a couple of palace guards with a baby, and make their way to the river where safety awaits as galla cannot cross running water.
Back at Saggara, Brishen and Ildiko are leading an extremely happy life as a couple in love. The daily routine and happy relationship comes to a sudden holt when news arrives that Brishen is the only survivor of the Kay royal house. The King is dead. Long live the King! The new Kai ruler finds himself in a tough position. First, to save his kingdom the galla must be defeated. Second, the neighboring kingdoms must be prevented from declaring war against him. The answer to both problems is to seek an alliance in order to defeat the darkness threatening to annihilate them all. Still, the galla are dead, and the dead may only be killed by the dead. Desperate measures through ancient magic will have to do. The change of circumstances, however, also affects the relationship between Brishen and Ildiko. Will the Kai accept a human queen?
In Radiance, although political/court intrigue and fantasy elements are well-integrated, romance is at the forefront of the story. In Eidolon, Draven focuses on the fantasy and political/court intrigue aspects of this world, while integrating the romantic elements. Romance is still key to decisions taken by the protagonists, however, conflict and angst are introduced to the blissfully happy relationship already established between Brishen and Ildiko.
This couple faces all conflicts with strength and vulnerability. Ildiko continues to be a strong character. However, Draven shows Ildiko's insecurities in this installment, and as a result, she emerges as an even stronger woman and partner at the end of the story. Brishen openly acknowledges his need for Ildiko. I admire his character for the sacrifices he is willing to make and the almost-unsurmountable dangers he faces for his people. But also, for the sacrifices Brishen is unwilling to make in his personal life. He is a real hero, and this is a great couple!
The world-building for the Wraith Kings series continues to evolve with this installment. I really enjoyed how the Kai's culture is further explored through political / court intrigue, and by strongly expanding the fantasy aspect of this series through magical elements and plotting. The Wraith Kings make their appearance in this book, but you'll have to read the story to find out the who, why and how. Additionally, personal relationships between main and secondary characters, as well as individual contributions made by secondary and tertiary characters, are key to the success to this story.
So, did I like one book more than the other? No. I loved Radiance for the fabulous romance. I love Eidolon for the fantasy, the world-building, the plotting, the way Draven portrays darkness and light, the resolutions, and yes, for the continuing romance between Brishen and Ildiko. Highly recommended.
Radiance (Wraith Kings, #1)
Eidolon (Wraith Kings, #2)
The Ippos King (Wraith Kings, #3) Releasing in 2017