Thursday, June 20, 2019

Review: Ioth, City of Lights by D.P. Woolliscroft

Ioth, City of Lights (The Wildfire Cycle #2)
Ioth, City of Lights (The Wildfire Cycle #2) by D.P. Woolliscroft
Publication: June 20th, 2019
Ebook. 531 pages.

About Ioth, City of Lights:

"Be careful what you strive for. 

The people won and now Mareth is Lord Protector of Edland. But winning an election is a lot different than governing a country, especially when the empire of Pyrfew is expanding into the Sapphire Sea. In the interests of peace, Mareth must dispatch Alana to Ioth, city of a thousand lights, to convince the ruling merchants to turn their back on the empire. Neenahwi, armed with the knowledge revealed to her in her coming of age ceremony, desperately wants to determine Pyrfew’s plans and to take the fight to the emperor. But Llewdon, ancient elven emperor of Pyrfew, has had decades to develop his schemes and his agents are embedded in the least expected places. Everything seems to revolve around the disappearance of Jyuth’s master a millennia ago. 

Will the heroes of Kingshold be able to survive fire belching ships, strange slimes, sinister doppelgängers, demon dogs, greedy merchants and past vices to lead Edland to safety?"

If you thought Kingshold was a wild and compelling ride, then you're in for a treat because Ioth is just as--if not more--of a ride than the first book.

Ioth, City of Lights is the follow up to D.P. Woolliscroft's Kingshold, an extraordinary politics-heavy fantasy that I loved. (Before diving straight into Ioth, however, I'd recommend you pick up Tales of Kingshold, book #1.5 in The Wildfire Cycle, which features shorter stories on various characters that will be prominent in this book.) Ioth has a steady, fast-paced plot, but not so fast and action-packed that you can't easily keep up. While Kingshold took place in only one city, Ioth takes place in a couple different locations. I was unsure at first how I felt about this, since I really fell in love with the city of Kingshold last time, but I soon realized how much more exciting it was to visit a variety of locations that allow Woolliscroft to really expand his world and show off some of his great world-building skills. The author also includes clever usage of foreshadowing in a way that really helps to build tension, as well as simply creating enough situations and compelling characters that the anticipation of what is going to happen keeps things moving and makes the book impossible to put down. 

I touched on the prominent characters and world-building in my first review, so for the sake of redundancy I won't go too much into that other than to say that I am enamored with all of the characters from the first book that continue to have important roles in the second. One of Woolliscroft's strengths truly does lie in his character development, and this is something that continues to shine in the sequel. In addition to old characters, there are also some new ones that we meet in Ioth and I found them just as engaging as the others. There's just something about these characters that makes them feel like real people I could meet and have a conversation with, and that's something that really stands out to me when an author manages to do that.  The characters also make so many huge transformations that take a careful hand to develop them correctly, and I think this was done really well. Seeing characters grow from one thing into another or discovering things about themselves and new skills is a true joy and I'm excited to see where they keep going.  

In a very similar to manner to how Woolliscroft creates his characters, he also crafts cities and locations in ways that make them feel like a genuine place that people live in. There is so much to explore in each area and there's never anything that feels half-made or as if its filler--everything has a purpose and only serves to further enrich the world and culture of each city. There's plenty of history provided, something that I always love and find crucial to authentic world-building, as well as a great incorporation of religion and other cultural elements.

Since this is the second book in a series (and third installment to the world overall), I really can't go into anything majorly plot-related because I don't want to give anything away. The plot remains strong, unpredictable, and most importantly: extremely enjoyable and satisfying. It's not that this series necessarily thrives off of continuously shocking the reader, but the way that Woolliscroft writes leaves me glued to the page, and when there are twists in the story, there's no holding back. If you enjoyed the political aspect of the first, then be assured that there is still plenty in the way of politics in this book as well to keep you satisfied in that regard. 

Overall, I've given Ioth five stars! I really have no complaints about this installment in The Wildfire Cycle and readily look forward to the next book!

*I received a copy of Ioth, City of Lights in exchange for an honest review. This has no effect on my rating of the novel.*

Buy the book: Amazon

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