Μarith, although a King now, is still in exile in Toreth Harbour in the aftermath of the battle of Malth Salene, planning his next move to reclaim his birthright, his throne. Consumed all the more by his past demons, and becoming all that was promised by his ancestry, the only thing that seems to keep some of Marith’s humanity is Thalia. His Queen, who is still by his side, trying to bring out the little goodness that is still left in him. In Sorlost, Orhan has to face the consequences of his coup. Taking control was the easy part. Keeping it proves to be way harder.
The White Isles men begin edging forwards. Slowly, crawling, beetle slow. The Ithish too begin moving. Not even clear if it’s in answer to an order: men lined up for battle must meet, and so they begin inexorably to move. All they have to do to live is refuse to go forward. Put down their spears. Nothing in the world and all the gods and demons and powers anyone could do to make them move and take up their arms and kill. But they move towards each other, slowly and inevitably, beyond any possibility of turning back. The secret hidden pleasure of every human heart, that it is waiting to die and to kill.
Sharper, weirder, and bloodier, The Tower of Living and Dying is what a sequel should be.
As with the first book, the story is told by several different POVs, some of them new. The characters are well-developed, and given depth. Their motives become clearer in this one though their actions are still unpredictable at places. The dynamics of Marith and Thalia’s relationship as well as Orhan and Darath’s are a driving force for the plot. The story itself is intriguing to say the least. Although it has some slow moments, the pace is relatively fast, with quite a few shocking plot-twists at the right places. The magic system that was already established in the first book is further expanded here, and the same goes for the world-building.
What makes this book stand out though, as with its predecessor, is Spark's writing style. It's unique, brilliant, and quite unsettling at places. Her prose comes close enough to a rhythmic structure, giving the book the feel of a poem. This is what made me love The Court of Broken Knives in the first place, and I'm still enthralled by it here.
All in all, The Tower of Living and Dying is an excellent new installment in the Empires of Dust series, and if you liked the first book, then you'll come to love this one.
The Tower of Living and Dying is out on August 09, 2018. You can pre-order it HERE.