Author: Leilani Wilson
Word Count: 163,242
Page Count: 426
Size: 6" x 9"
Cover Artist: NightlineZ
Interior Artist: Renz
Series: Elancia Chronicles
Book Number: 3
Publication Date: February 2021
Verse is an Imperial Knight with a monster inside them. They have a tendency to get into trouble, a desire to be better, and friends who just keep popping back up, despite inherent risk. Verse has to remember what it feels like to feel anything at all, and be brave in the face of something that scares them more than anything else: love.
What begins as a look into the whereabouts of a sister uproots an entire, rotten family tree with deep roots and no trunk. Awakening Gods stalk the empire as it begins to buckle under its own weight.
The storm is breaking, and before the empire shatters completely, everyone will have to figure out where they stand, and how to survive.
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This entry in the series is the one that I think sees the most change in the status quo over the course of the length of the book. The dynamics of a bunch of relationships change and it’s interesting to see how the characters navigate their new normal. Of particular note is the relationship between Verse, Karina, and Lyrikos which gets a lot of attention in this book. We also get to see where Basil and Cecelia have been all this time and it was nice seeing them back in the action again. The story this time focuses on the rapidly destabilizing relations between the East and the West sections of Verse’s home of the Southern Kerlynzian Empire. As the characters search for Lyrikos across the empire they have to contend with the Knights as an organization, ”health and wellness camps” for Elia, and a growing civil unrest at the East not having enough resources to survive. These and more help to show how the characters react to real-world analogues of these issues in police brutality and conversion therapy. It’s also a clever way to show that just because it’s a fantasy world, doesn’t mean that Verse and co. will be able to sidestep those social issues. And I think one of the core themes of this book is having the courage to fight for something you love. Verse has been a typical aloof protagonist in most of their scenes, feigning that they don’t care because they are afraid of getting close to people and hurting them in the process. But as that shell cracks, they realize that’s not the way they want to live their life. And that when you give a damn about something, you might just have to fight tooth and claw for it. I also appreciated the answers to the many questions that have been set up in books 1 and 2 of the series. If you’re a longtime reader and have wanted to know more about Verse’s backstory and their family, then I’m happy to say you’ll get those answers. One of my favorite bits while reading this was a single sentence that gave me chills as I read it and that’s not an easy feat to do! As evidenced by the title, gods play a larger role and I think Leilani does a good job of showing that they are just as fallible as the other folks in Elancia. The growing cast of various characters can make it difficult to keep up with who all is involved in which plots at any one given time. Factor in that some of the gods have a couple different aliases and that can get confusing fast. My other criticism is that the ending finds a way to group all the main characters up for a big climatic battle, and while I really enjoyed the scene once we got there, I felt like the setup was a bit too convenient. One of the aspects of Leilani’s writing style that I often forget to touch on is the sense of urgency and excitement that comes with it. I look forward to these books partially because once I start reading it’s very hard to put down again. There’s also a lot of stuff I wanted to get to in this review, but it would spoil a lot of things that happen so I have to hold off. All that being said, I’m really happy with the character growth and am eager to see where the next book takes us in Elancia!