This is part two of two of Hogarth’s Godkindred Saga, and I wish I’d leafed through the first book again before reading it like I had planned. This is so tied to the first book that after a short prologue it picks up with chapter 27. So, yes, do not pick this up without getting the first book (and conversely, don’t pick it up without this! it is one story in two covers).

That said, it’s an excellent book. There is a bit of change in direction at the very beginning, avoiding the action that was promised at the end of the first part. Past that, it follows on very naturally, and continues to explore a number of themes, including colonialism, loyalty and religion.

I really like the world she’s set up here, and while it would be possible to see other stories set here, I get a feeling that this will be it. It is set up to explore certain ideas, which this story then does. The long denouement not only shows the break up of the group that had assembled as they go their separate ways to rebuild the political world, but explains those few things that were inexplicable. With ‘reality’ as well defined as it is at the end, it seems this setting has done all that Hogarth has intended.

But while the world is bounded by the story and vice versa, it is about people. The characters are all well-realized, especially the viewpoint character of Angharad.

The one problem I do have is that the physical descriptions are a bit lacking. There’s a great variety of species, with a large number of cross-breeds, and it can be hard to put together a comprehensive picture of what some people look like easily (the author’s art is a big help here).

So, don’t get either book without the other, but do get them!