Book Two of the Amra Thetys Series
By Michael McClung
Amra has enjoyed the quiet life for too long, but that’s about to change. Her long-time companion and master-mage, Holgren, fancies a trip to a long-lost city. Who is she to refuse? He’s done so much for her, so she should really return the favour. And besides. What could possibly go wrong?
But Amra’s life is never that simple, and a straightforward feint and grab turns quickly sour. There are forces at work that she could not begin to comprehend, and the gods are watching too. If she’s going to survive, then she needs to tread carefully. Very carefully indeed.
Well, that was an fantastic second part to a fabulous series. Amra Thetys really is a likeable rogue, and her adventures here are just as action-packed. I’m not particularly clear on where the series is going, but the journey is fun so who cares? Perhaps this wasn’t quite as spectacular as book one, but a great read nonetheless.
In this second instalment, Amra is convinced by her mage partner to go searching for a long-lost city. There is supposedly a great secret hidden there, a secret that could help out her good friend, but what is the cost? Cue an adventure with gods and sorcerers waiting in the wings, and general chaos all about. Great.
I really liked the first book in this series, and this is also a good novel. I was perhaps not as blown away as I was last time, but I think that’s a reflection of me rather than the book. If you liked book one, you will like this. This is one action-packed little rocket of a book.
The characters are great. Amra is a roguish thief (as is common in fantasy these days) and she is genuinely likeable – much like Locke Lamora. Yes, she is a bit amoral, but aren’t we all? And besides: she doesn’t steal from anyone poorer than herself.
But it is the whole cast who are interesting. Holgren is a funny little chap; the duke is clinical and harsh; the gods are godlike but flawed with it; and the sorcerer is just a bit nasty. Then there are Kerf and Isis – a funny couple.
The other thing that’s really likeable is the fact that this is a wonderfully clean plot in a complex world. The writing doesn’t dwell on the ‘world-building’ complexity which is clearly there, and it makes for a swift and pleasurable read. Oh, and the writing is really good too. Tick.
What I wasn’t so keen on (but is mainly my personal taste) is the first person. I just don’t like it as a reader. I think it may be something to do with the fact that first-person has to be done REALLY well, otherwise there is a risk of it feeling like a journal with the associated break in tension. That could just be me over-thinking it though.
The second thing I was less keen in was the presence of gods full-stop. This is another personal taste thing, but the mingling of gods and “subjects” is always a hard one for me. I think this is probably because the gods usually come across as a sort of “super-human” rather than gods with the associated responsibility, but that may be me over-thinking it again! Don’t get me wrong, it was done pretty well here, but it stretched the boundaries a little too far.
And then there’s the book in the context of a series. Put simply, I have no idea where this is going. I’m not sure if that’s a bad thing or not, because I’ll certainly read on, but I am bracing myself for a series of largely independent adventures. Who knows? But they will be entertaining adventures, that’s for sure.
So that’s it really. A great little book full of fantastic action and lots to love. Where Amra goes next, I have no idea, but I’m looking forward to following her. She does have a habit of getting into the most delightful scrapes!