The Price of Faith (The Ties That Bind #3) by Rob J. Hayes Book Review

Write on: Mon, 05 Mar 2018 by  in Charles' Reviews Read 4338


THE PRICE OF FAITH is the third volume of THE TIES THAT BIND and the end of that trilogy set in Rob Hayes' fantastic sword and sorcery world. It has events which are bound to tick some readers off and bound to excite others. Is it worth the purchase? In the end, I leave it up to my review to let readers decide.

This book follows up on the adventures of Inquisitor Thanquil Darkheart and Jezzet Vel'urn, who were left in an awkward period of their relationship post-The Heresy Within. Both of them were very interested in the other but Thanquil's job hunting heretics and Jezzet's deeply suspicious spirit kept the two apart. Jezzet has found herself in the Dragon Empire (China), serving the spoiled empress alongside Captain Drake Morass (future star of the Best Laid Plans duology).

Thanquil Darkheart is on his own mission to find the last remaining heretic that has access to godlike magic which could result in the world being overrun by demons. He must choose between the option of saving the woman he loves versus fulfilling his duty as the defender of the universe from the monsters beyond.

As a huge fan of Jezzet Vel'urn, I wasn't a big fan of this book's portrayal of her. The swordmistress is reduced to being the pawn of Drake Morass, subject to the whims of the story, and mostly characterized by her love for Thanquil. It felt like a very interesting character was reduced in her awesomeness in order to make her serve the needs of the story. This was avoided with Elaina Black and Henry in the other Hayes storylines so it's doubly egregious here.

Drake Morass is a scoundrel and a rogue who reveals, like DJ from The Last Jedi, that doesn't mean you have a hidden heart of gold. He actually worked much better as a villain than the actual antagonist of this novel and is imminently more hateable. Indeed, it really surprised me to discover he was the protagonist of the next series. Still, he's a remarkably charming monster and you can understand why some people would believe him even over trusted loved ones.

The Dragon Empire nicely avoids a lot of orientalist stereotypes which would have been easy to fall into. It's a non-patriarchal dragon-riding version of Chinese culture that is nicely integrated into the rest of the setting. Jezzet and Drake are curiosities rather than devils, even though they soon find themselves overstaying their welcome.

As an ending to The Ties that Bind series, The Price of Faith isn't quite what I wanted. I never really bonded with Drake Morass and was actually hesitant about wanting to follow him into The Best Laid Plans duology which followed. Still, it serves as a suitable wrap up for Thanquil's storyline as he's been struggling with his loyalty to the Inquisition versus his love of Jezzet for some time. I was actually surprised by the choice he made.

Rob Hayes does an amazing job establishing the cutthroat, fantastic, dark, and yet still inspiring world which our characters' inhabit. Lots of groundwork was laid in previous volume but this expands the scope of the world considerably. I wasn't blown away by the Dragon Empire but it offers actual potential for dragon fights in the air and that's not a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination.

In conclusion, this was an okay entry into the series but definitely flawed. Thankfully, fans of the characters will find WHERE LOYALTIES LIE and THE FIFTH EMPIRE OF MANKIND bring the series back to its roots and even improve on them.

Available here

Last modified on Tuesday, 02 March 2021 17:32
C.T. Phipps

C.T Phipps is a lifelong student of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. An avid tabletop gamer, he discovered this passion led him to write and turned him into a lifelong geek. He is a regular blogger on "The United Federation of Charles".

He's written Agent G, Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, and The Supervillainy Saga.