A fantasy world vibrant with imagination, deep magic, and characters you will cheer for.
I really enjoyed Merchant of Alyss! As Thomas Locke's second novel in the Legends of the Realm series, he follows the solid foundation laid in Emissary (book one) and thrills his readers with yet another fantastical tale of magic, quests, and danger.
We see Hyam, the main character, moving on in the aftermath of his heroic sacrifice from the end book one. He's touted as a hero everywhere he goes in Falmouth, yet he's still the burdened, slightly enigmatic character from Emissary. As I noticed in the first book, Hyam isn't (to me at least) an overtly emotional character. Through events I won't mention here (no spoilers my friends) I expect that he should be more emotional than he is, and yet his stoic, burdened nature doesn't bother me. It allows for the plot and supporting characters to take precedence which suits the genre well.
I love the elements of magic and lore that Locke incorporates in this second book and felt that Hyam's quests unfolded just as I would expect from a fantasy, yet not in an "expected" way. The pull toward the end of the story was strong, the battles just as epic (if not more so) as book one, and the many moving parts and colorful character groups created a seamless story world worthy of Tolkien. I also enjoyed Locke's descriptive writing which allowed me to truly visualize everything that was happening. There is one portion (a character really) of the story I'm not quite convinced on (again, no spoilers) but I have faith that Locke will bring it around in book three.
If you enjoy fantasy of any kind you will love this book. I would recommend reading Emissary first, only for the fact that the story will likely make a lot more sense to you and will, in turn, be more satisfying. I'm already looking forward to book three and what Hyam will accompolish there.
...Oh, and of course, the cover is spectacular. Almost as good as the cover for Emissary (in my opinion).
Purchase: Merchant of Alyss (Legends of the Realm #2)
Purchase: Emissary (Legends of the Realm #1)
See my review of Emissary
(from Thomas's website)
Life for Hyam is bittersweet. Admired by the citizens of Falmouth for his heroic rescue mission, he cherishes these peaceful days with Joelle by his side. Yet grief over the loss of his magical skills during the great Battle of Emporis threatens to engulf him. Sometimes he even wishes he had never known magic at all.
When Hyam comes into possession of an ancient Milantian scroll, he is thrilled to feel the surge of power that courses through him whenever he touches it. But what he discerns in the text could mean war. He embarks upon another journey to determine its true meaning and forestall any attack. But as Hyam is seeking answers, he is unaware that the merchant of Alyss is seeking him…
_______________________I received a free copy of this book for review purposes, but was under no obligation to read the book or post a review. I do so under my own motivation and the opinions I have expressed in this review are honest and entirely my own.