Spectyr – Book of the Order 2

Though one of the most powerful Deacons, Sorcha Faris has a tarnished reputation to overcome, which is why she jumps at the chance to investigate a string of murders in the exotic city of Orinthal. But it is there that her lover, the shapeshifting rival to the throne, is targeted by a cruel and vengeful goddess, unwittingly unleashed by the Emperor’s sister.

I was so excited when this book came out, even more so because it was available for purchase on the Kindle in the Oceanic region at the same time as it was for the US. It’s not often the case with the new releases I actually want to purchase.

I’ll confess to being a bit of a Philippa Ballantine fan. I’m keeping up to date with all her recent work – I actually won a copy of Geist when it came out last year – and reviewed Phoenix Rising earlier this year. Aside from being a great writer, she is also a really approachable, lovely person. Plus, she’s a Kiwi, and I love being able to promote works by NZ writers!

Anyway, back to Spectyr. This is the second novel in the series and is set not long after the first. Sorcha and her new partner Merrick are in limbo after the fallout from the first book, being given simple jobs to keep them occupied and out of trouble. However, the Otherside finds a way to contact them, drawing them into another action packed adventure that is tied to Sorcha’s love interest, Raed, the Young Pretender/Rossin.

I love the characters in this series, they all have their quirks and are tied together by a bond that none of them intended to create, but cannot break. This novel deepens their relationships, and gives further insight into who these individuals are, and how they work together as a team. It was great to see different sides to the characters in this novel – Sorcha has some softer moments, and Merrick seems to mature a little and grow into his abilities. Raed’s strong feelings of familial responsibility come through as well.

A lot happens in this book, some of the scenes are amazingly detailed and fast paced to boot. If anything, I’d say this book is better than Geist. It takes all the foundations that were laid and builds on them, giving more depth to both the world and the characters. Ballantine has crafted a world that is rich and vibrant, with a distinctive flavour all of its own. The plot is set against a backdrop of politics, and religion as well as both the regular world and the Otherside.

Ballantine knows how to weave a story with lots of interesting threads and layers that come together to create a stunning climax. I’d recommend that you read Book One before reading this one though, as it dives straight in. You can definitely still enjoy the story, but you’ll get more from it if you’ve already read Geist.

While this book isn’t exactly a cliffhanger, it leaves you with plenty of unanswered questions. I know that I’ll be picking Wrayth, the 3rd novel in the series, up as soon as it’s available.

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