Eternal Sky, Book 3
Synopsis: Elizabeth Bear concludes her award-winning epic fantasy Eternal Sky trilogy in Steles of the Sky.
Re Temur, legitimate heir to his grandfather’s Khaganate, has finally raised his banner and declared himself at war with his usurping uncle. With his companions—the Wizard Samarkar, the Cho-tse Hrahima, and the silent monk Brother Hsiung—he must make his way to Dragon Lake to gather in his army of followers. But Temur’s enemies are not idle; the leader of the Nameless Assassins, who has shattered the peace of the Steppe, has struck at Temur’s uncle already. To the south, in the Rasan empire, plague rages. To the east, the great city of Asmaracanda has burned, and the Uthman Caliph is deposed. All the world seems to be on fire, and who knows if even the beloved son of the Eternal Sky can save it?
Review: This is another series that I have not read, and I begin once again with the third book in the trilogy that closes the series. It is always a difficult to do that, I know, especially in fantasy, but I am done for now with novels out of order.
Unlike the last novel I read where I was really lost, I found that the author made us understand more easily the context of the story. The world is also very rich and we find a lot of characters at once. It is true that initially I had a little trouble placing all the characters. But this is mainly due to the fact that they all have some very original names and it was difficult to remember everyone when we have many different characters. Of course, as often in fantasy, we have many POVs over the chapters and it was interesting to understand the role of the characters and what each was trying to achieve.
Re Temur is trying to regain the throne he had to leave and he is going to Dragon Lake to raise his flag and regain his place. Accompanied by his friends, he will have to pass through many obstacles and confront people and creatures he wouldn’t have thought to cross. Oh yes because we have a jinn who plots against his master, but also a speaking dragon who may well hold the key to their future, and some shaman-remembered. Conspiracies and betrayals are law here, and everyone is trying to take advantage of the situation.
I had a good time with this novel, and although it is true that I was a bit lost at first, we understand little by little what is happening and what the characters want to do. It is a rich world that the author presents here, all populated by wizards, shamans and extraordinary creatures. Each category has its own rules and it was interesting to discover more about them. I confess that I am curious to discover how the characters ended up like that and I think that I should read the first books one day. By cons I do not advise you to start with this one as I did, you’ll miss too many things.