Sunset Over Abendau by Jo Zebedee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Sunset Over Abendau(The Inheritance Trilogy Book 2) by Jo Zebedee
For anyone who's read Jo's first book in this set, it may be easy to understand when I talk about how dark that book seemed to be. I almost struggled to decide when I'd subject myself to this: the next installment. So of course I started with the sample.
It starts with a prologue and I often don't care much for prologues. This one is done well and is quite appropriate to the story. It both sets the plot and brings the reader up to date to things after the end of the first book and gives the reader a look at Averrine whose power was blocked by Kare at the price of his own power being lost. Though she has lost her power, Averrine is neither cowed nor worried; instead she's plotting her revenge as she is locked up in a maximum security prison.
The story begins ten year after. It does not start with Kare, instead it starts with Baelan; the son that Kare doesn't know he has. Baelan is being raised in the desert by tribesmen and Phelps, one of Kare's most hated enemies. Baelan is being groomed to take Kare's place and also to help bring his grandmother, Averrine, back into power. We're five percent into the book and the plot is getting so thick that you're not going to want to stop by the end of the sample.
Finally we get to the victors of the last battle in the last book and if ever there were a story to paint a picture depicting the phrase 'to the victor belong the spoils' Jo nails it quite well. Her characters, who already are quite complex to begin with, have added new layers of complexity along with a false sense of complacency that is only compounded once again by the consequences of their actions. Except this time we include the consequences of the inaction.
The reader is reintroduced to the survivors of the first book and it doesn't take long to realize that the group is highly dysfunctional. Kare never wanted to take his mother's place and yet he seems entrenched in that spot while he's let his personal life get away from him. His wife Sonly and her brother Lichio both have their own issues lingering in the background and they all seem to have let the distance of ten years make them complacent about the enemies they have let live. But as the reader advances into the story it becomes evident that the ensuing events might be just what our heroes need to get them back on track. Even if it means there might be a journey into the darkness once more and with Jo at the helm that's almost a guarantee.
It's not often that a reader sees the second book in a series outshine the first in so many ways. I highly recommend the first book in the series and despite how dark it felt to me it is one amazing premier novel for an author. For those who haven't read Abendau's Heir, I suggest you get to it quickly so you can better enjoy the second book. And for those who have read the first book-you'll love this one more.
I have to mention that there were elements of the desert, the tribes and the political landscape of this novel that kept bringing Frank Herbert's Dune to mind, and I hope the author doesn't take offence in me making that comparison. When it comes to the characters, their complexity and their struggles it's all pure Jo Zebedee. So when all of you SFF fans finish this, if you haven't already, you should check out Jo's Inish Carraig. (Completely different world and characters, but an example of the range this author has to offer.)
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