Princess of Blood (Book Two of the God Fragments),
(cover artwork by Jon McCoy)
Stranger of Tempest was one of my top five books of 2016 (reviewed here), and right from the moment I turned the last page I could hardly wait for the next installment. The intermediate novella – Honour Under Moonlight – helped ease the pain somewhat, but was quickly devoured and didn’t really offer much to get your teeth into.
You’ll forgive me if this review contains a heaping serving of food-related metaphors, as someone who is always thinking about their next meal I strongly identify with Lloyd’s protagonist Lynx and his pervasive appetite. New cities mean new enemies, new dangers, new liaisons, but most importantly they mean new and exotic dishes for poor, underfed Lynx to dream longingly of and rarely get the chance to sample.
When we join Lynx and the Cards once more, the enigmatic and volatile Toil is no longer just their employer, but a fully carded member of the mercenary deck. The mission is to escort a reprehensible dignitary on a diplomatic mission between neighbouring city states, but for Toil, the mission is only the appetiser. The main course is something deeper, darker and deadlier than even their last misadventure could prepare them for. Once at their destination, relic hunter Toil is eager to lead a foray into the recently opened Labyrinth beneath the city of Jarrazir and despite his deep rooted fear dark confined spaces, Lynx’s protective nature, loyalty and lust mean he can do little else than follow.
Though the puzzles of the Labyrinth may seem a little undercooked, the action and intrigue is anything but. Fast paced and perilous, Lloyd leads us on another twisting path of a tale that was difficult to put down. Much like the first book, though, the crowning achievement of this story is the well rounded characters and their complex, realistic, relationships and reactions.
I hungrily await the next novella, The Man with One Name, and hope that it will be sustaining enough to carry me through until the next family-sized portion of this exciting and endearing saga.