Author: K.S. Villoso
Category: High Fantasy
This review will cover the entire 3 book series. The author was kind enough to send us a free copy of this series in exchange for an honest review.
Don’t miss this week’s podcast episode covering this series as well!
I’m a little surprised that this series is not at least a little more well known. There is a lot to enjoy with this story.
Probably my favorite things were the interactions between the characters and how expansive and complex the world is. I don’t think this series really did much more than scratch the surface to all the possibilities of what is going on in this universe. Getting to see more of the politics that moves around and reading about some more of the lore of the world is definitely what has me looking forward to reading more work by this author.
The character interactions and relationships built up well and even though I am, as a rule, against love triangles, the one that existed in this story made sense because the relationships built up over time and it the conflict was understandable. Also, I liked all the characters involved!
I am also not much one for battle sequences. I tend to kind of skim over them somewhat but there was a battle scene in the 3rd book that had me on the edge of my seat. There was betrayal, there was desperation, there was a THING that happened at the conclusion of the battle that had me pretty upset. It was just really well done and stands out to me as one of the shining moments of the series.
All that said, the storytelling is not perfect. Mostly this comes down to scenes and happenings that kind of feel like they are missing. The biggest example of this is in the second book, one of the characters gets married and heads of with his bride to another country to take care of something. Their leaving is the end of the chapter and the next goes on to another POV. When we come back to that character again, it has suddenly been 3 years and he has been in prison for most of that time. While the reader does not have to guess at what happened to land him in prison by any means, it was a little jarring to jump so far forward, skipping over a major plot development entirely. I would have liked to experience the ins and outs of how he ended up there.
This happened on a smaller scale a few more times throughout the series. There was also a little lore and history that I wish had kind of been sprinkled throughout the story a little more before the information became directly relevant to the plot. The namesake of the trilogy, Agartes, is largely absent from the series as he is more of a historical figure. Although I got the impression that he was someone of legend, it wasn’t until the 3rd book that it started to become clear why.
Same with Sume’s father. In the first book, her father’s involvement in things that had happened in Jin-Sayeng in the past impacted Sume’s story in the first book. But it was never brought up that he was such an important figure until it was relevant to the story. The problem with this is just that it makes it seem like the story wasn’t planned out when information of this kind regarding history and lore doesn’t come up until it is needed, makes it seem like it was just made up as the story went along. I don’t think that was the case with this story because so much of the rest of the story was obviously painstakingly planned out but it kind of seemed like it at times.
Still, the story was engaging and I liked the characters enough that I was able to look past these things and would recommend the series to fans of high fantasy. It didn’t quite hit my favorites list but I have extremely high hopes for future work by this author.
Overall series rating: