• Mike Sliter

The Black Song Review

Vaelin al’Sorna is still at it, now fleeing the Steel Horde following the events of the first book, struggling with the reinvigoration of his long lost song. Though, the song comes with a twist—hence the title of the book.

Vaelin has long been one of my favorite characters, and despite the travesty that was the Queen of Fire, I fully intend to finish his tale. Somehow, though, this book came out without me noticing, so I dove right in when I realized that. I remembered most of the key plot points, though I wish there had been a summary of previous events. This series isn’t popular enough for a wiki and some details drifted away. Luckily, that didn’t seem to matter, since most of Vaelin’s story was more of an adventure, with the political and sociocultural taking a back seat.

The best parts of the sequel were actually not from the main character, but from the perspective of a side character, an enemy, named Obvar. Onvar’s Account provided a perspective on the Steel Horde and the big bad that might have otherwise been left unspoken. It was beautifully written and almost haunting at times. I felt that it was going to lead to something big, but by the end, the plot line just peatered out.

There was lots of battle in the book, lots of blood and gore and such, probably more so than most other Anthony Ryan books. So much that it started to get repetitive and somewhat samey. I just felt that Vaelin continued to be invincible and honestly somewhat wooden in the way he approached the world and events. in the last book, you saw a man torn, fighting anger and loss. I got none of that here, really. It felt like ” just another Vaelin story” rather than something phenomenal. Granted, it was still good, but never crossed the threshold to great for me.

That said, still one thousand percent better than the Queen of Fire and worth a read. I'll continue the journey with him, as the ending left things open for at least one more book.


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