The Blasted Lands by James A. Moore
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
While Merros Dulver prepares the Empire of Fellein for the possibility of war with the Sa'ba Taalor, Desh Krohan sends an expedition to the Blasted Lands to find The Mounds, the one place the gods of the Taalor forbid them to go...
I got this from Angry Robot via Netgalley
The Blasted Lands picks up where Seven Forges left off. Andover is learning the ways of the Sa'ba Taalor. Merros is in charge of the Imperial Army. And a new empress is crowned. When Tusk invites the Empire to parley, what does he have in mind?
I struggled with how to rate this book. On one hand, a lot more of the lore behind the Sa'ba Taalor is revealed: customs, religion, magic, etc. More worldbuilding is done, not quite as seamless as the first book but still very good. The characters introduced in the first book are fleshed out and do a lot to make Moore's world seemed lived in. And we finally know why the Taalor are masked a lot of the time.
There are still plenty of mysteries, however. We still don't know what's beneath the mounds but the bigger mystery is how the Empire can stand up against an enemy that's been training for a thousand years for just such a war.
All that being said, not a whole lot actually happens beyond the expedition to the Mounds, Andover's trials with the Sa'ba Taalor, and a lot of maneuvering. It did a lot to build my interest in the next book, though.
When all is said and done, it's the middle book in a trilogy and does a great job setting up the next book. I didn't enjoy it quite as much as the first so I'm giving it a 3.5 out of 5.
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