Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for this review.
Continuing to expand on the author’s world, Wretches of the Trench both introduces a new part of the city and promotes one of the previously supporting characters to POV status. The inclusion of Yuna’s viewpoint ends up serving two purposes. First, it adds both personal and historical components to what we learn about the Trench, and some of the events that take place during the novella. Second, it serves as a nice mid-point between Jie’s pragmatism and Tien’s innocence. The drawback is that by sharing the spotlight less time is given to those previous POV characters, balanced by showing them in a fresh light, deepening our understanding of them.
In marked contrast to the previous installments, the majority of this novella takes place outside of the relative safety of the Floating World. The Trench is a much harsher place, with predatory gangs in control and where poverty is common enough that the sale of unwanted children seems commonplace. It’s only by a combination of luck, skill, and personal sacrifice that the main characters survive their expedition.
If I had one complaint it’s that while the storyline followed in Wretches of the Trench does give some answers to questions raised in the previous installment, it ultimately felt a bit like a diversion from the main mystery established in the first volume. But it’s an entertaining and exciting diversion none the less.
3.5 out of 5 blue assassins.