ARC Review: Charlie Holmberg’s “Myths and Mortals”

Thank you, Netgalley and 47North, for the ARC of Charlie Holmberg’s Myths and Mortals. I am so pleased to jump right into the series, with books one and two being available for ARC review within days of each other. I am not sure if book three will be available with the same alacrity, since there is no information on Holmberg’s website, but book two left me wanting more! I recently reviewed book one of this trilogy, Smoke and Summons, so the details were fresh in my mind as I read through Myths.

From the Publisher:

Sandis has escaped Kazen’s grasp, but she finds herself unmoored, reeling from her thief friend Rone’s betrayal.

Kazen has been hurt but not stopped, and he’ll do anything to summon the monster that could lay waste to the entire world. Sandis knows she must be the one to stop him, but with her own trusted numen now bound to another, and finding herself with no one she can trust, she is in desperate need of allies. Rone seems determined to help her, but Sandis has no intention of letting him get close to her again. What she doesn’t know is how much Rone gave up to protect her. Or how much more he is willing to give up to keep her safe.

As chaos mounts, Sandis must determine whom to trust. After all, the lines between enemy and ally have never been less clear…and corruption lurks in the most unlikely of places.

My Take:

Book two picks up very rapidly from where book one left off, with Sandis and Rone meeting her uncle and Sandis having the “aha!” moment that she really cannot trust a single person in her life – not her would-be boyfriend, and not her only remaining family. From this scene on, it is non-stop action, a refreshing pace compared to book one’s stop-and-go chasing and hiding. New characters are introduced, old ones are more properly fleshed out, and the city slowly devolves into more chaos.

What I Liked:

  • The character development. One of my biggest complaints about the last book was how flat Sandis and Rone were, cardboard cutouts filled with tropes. Sandis was the virginal vessel that needed saving, and Rone was the antihero rogue with good intentions and bad actions. Now, they have both evolved. Sandis, while still vulnerable, is beginning to make her own choices, for better and for worse. Rone actually understands what went wrong and is trying to rectify the problem. It was a pleasure to read them grow, both separately and together.
  • The new characters. It is funny that the two best things about this book are character driven, since last book was all about setting the scene and the ambiance. Here, the new cast of characters are all interesting and have full backstories. There is Bastien, the new vessel and ally, as well as a street gang that isn’t in Kazen’s pocket. I am looking forward to see how they fit in the end.

 

What I Liked Less:

  • The Villains. Kazen and Sandis’ uncle are both driven by very different motivations, but at the end of the day, they are both fairly one-sided. Holmberg did such a good job fleshing out her heroes in this installation, and I hope that she can do the same for her villains in book three.
  • The predictability. I really did enjoy this book, but many of the would-be twists were a bit predictable, just based on the characters’ motivations and motivations earlier in the book and in book one. I wouldn’t say this is a deal breaker, just a little surprising since most of Holmberg’s other books are pretty surprising.

Conclusion:

To say I enjoyed Myths more than Smoke would probably be an understatement; this book is what I wanted this series to be. There is action, mythology, character development, and more cool numen. I can’t wait for book three! Four waves out of five; preorder your copy today to have it by April 16!

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