The Ilyon Chronicles
By Jaye L. Knight
Available on Amazon
Jaye has just released the third volume of her exciting series, so of course I signed up to review. And let me say up front: If you're not reading this series, what are you doing with your life????
The book begins with a ceremony based on the Jewish holidays, the Day of Atonement and Passover ... and with a return of Jace's insecurity over his soul. It doesn't help that one of the newcomers to their settlement lost his wife in a ryrik attack, and sees Jace as the epitome of everything he hates.
If you haven't read the previous books - ryriks are an extremely cruel and violent race, rumored to have been the first to rebel against Elom, and to not have souls, hence Jace's uncertainty.
Of course, in a world of persecution and political warfare, one doesn't have much time to sit around wondering if they have a soul or not, because war is brewing, and if they could just get their hands on the letters that the emperor has been sending... which sends our party to the home of Dacian's chief strategist in hopes that Kyrin might be able to get a good look at them - if only for a moment. Kyrin has a perfect memory and even a moment would be enough to implant the contents in her mind forever.
Of course, things never go as expected when it's a book, and when a Highly Anticipated Big Reveal occurs, we end up spending half the book at the knight's home.
The second half of the book is the trip to Samara, a meeting with New Character who is Very Important, and then a bunch of battle scenes.
I loved the first half of the book. As in, completely and utterly adored it. So much fangirlly squealling occurred, and I could NOT put it down. Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy the second part quite as much, as it frequently felt like I was just rereading Truth and Courage - the first two books of her Makilien Trilogy she wrote as Molly Evangeline.
I can't say much because most of what disappointed me were spoilers, but basically, there were a lot of action sequences ... and call me a strange reader, but I don't like action scenes. Setting up for the action - fun and glorious. Reading the action - tedious. Also, there was a huge element involving the New Character who is Very Important that I'd hoped would be handled differently. Not that it was handled badly, and it was powerful for what it was, but I was hoping to see something different.
Still, there was also a TON of character development, and relationship development, and tension packed conversations, and awesome new characters in the second half (King Balam!!!!!!!!!!!), so I still loved the book.
Jace grew so much in this book. Sure, at times I was utterly frustrated with the rut he'd allowed himself to fall into (especially when he'd been doing so well in the previous book!), and his refusal to admit to himself that he liked Kyrin (seriously, he would have spared himself so much trouble if he'd just admitted it to her). Yet though it all he remained so sweet, devoted, and protective of those he loved.
Kyrin didn't grow much in this book, but I loved seeing her interacting with her brothers. Seriously, you can tell that the author grew up as an only girl in a household of boys. It was awesome. Kaden did some growing up, though, when he was given command over Landale's fleet of dragon riders, and it was awesome. Marcus and Liam got some development too, and I think I may have swapped my fictional crush from Kaden to Marcus.
Also, Holden. I don't remember him much from the previous books, but he was awesome in this one. Seriously awesome.
As for new characters, there were many awesome ones. Like Samara's young king, who's a sort of a David/Aragorn character. I'm really looking forward to seeing what Jaye does with his character in future books. Lady Rachel had such a tragic backstory, but she emerged such a beautiful, graceful woman because of it. And there were many other characters that you're just going to love to meet ... and some characters you probably will regret meeting, such as our new villain. Let me just say, I'm willing to see almost every other Ilyon character repent and be redeemed, but this fellow has to die.
There were so many great lines and popping dialogue, some of which tore at my heart, other's had me fangirling so wildly.
Why are you still here reading this review? Go buy the book! Unless, of course, you haven't read the previous books yet, in which case, buy them first, read them, and then read this one. You won't regret it.
Profanity: NONE - no offensive language
Sexuality: SUBTLE - hinted, but not explicit - There are a few minimally-described kisses, and a few references to rape,
Other: There's a nice bit of battle at the end, some torture scenes, and execution, and some other odd fights. Also, the opening scene involves the sacrifice of a lamb and its blood.