Friday, November 19, 2021

#Review - The Quicksilver Court by Melissa Caruso #Fantasy

Series: Rooks and Ruin (#2)
Format: Paperback, 544 pages
Release Date: October 12, 2021
Publisher: Orbit
Source: Library
Genre: Fantasy / Epic

Loyalties are tested and nations clash in the second novel of a fresh epic fantasy series bursting with adventure, intrigue, ambition, and deadly magic.

Ryxander, the Warden of Gloamingard, has failed. Unsealed by her blood, the Door hidden within the black tower has opened. Now, for the first time since the age of the Graces, demons walk the world.

As tensions grow between nations, all eyes—and daggers—are set on Morgrain, which has fallen under the Demon of Discord’s control. When an artifact with the power to wipe out all life in a domain is stolen, Ryx will do whatever it takes to save her home from destruction. But success may demand a larger sacrifice from Ryx than she could have imagined.

The Quicksilver Court, by author Melissa Caruso, is the second installment in the authors Rooks and Ruin series. The series itself is set in the world of Eruvia. This story takes place 150 years after the ending of the authors Swords and Fire series and in the same universe but with an entirely new cast of characters. As the granddaughter of an immortal Witch Lord (Lady of Owls) of Vaskandar and a line of Royal Vivomancers, Exalted Ryxander (Ryx) was destined for power and prestige. But a childhood illness left her with broken magic that drains the life from anything she touches, and Vaskandar has no place for a mage with unusable powers. 

Ryx resigned herself to an isolated life as the Warden of Gloamingard. After an unwanted visitor got too curious to Gloamingard's infamous Black Door and what's behind it, Ryx accidentally killed the dignitary in self-defense, activating a mysterious magical artifact sealed in an ancient tower in the heart of her family’s castle which released several of the Nine Demons including Hunter, Madness, Nightmare, and Discord. Ryx has found a home among a group of people who belong to the Rookery. 

Asheva, Bastian, Foxglove, Kessa, as well as former Shrike Lord Severin, and her ever present shadow cat called Whispers have accepted Ryx into their group without reservation. After being banished from her own home by her Demon possessed Grandmother, Ryx and her new friends in the Rookery must pull their resources together in order to find a powerful artifact that has been stolen by a fringe group called the Zenith Society who just happens to be aligned with the Demon of Hunger who now possesses the body of the man who murdered Ryx's aunt and tried to kill her with arrows and poison who wants to destroy Severin's home.

This will take Ryx and crew to the Loreican Court (think Palace of Versailles) where secrets will be spilled, Demons will come together for the first time in thousands of years, including Hunger, Madness, Nightmare, Discord, Death, Disaster, and Ryx's life will once again be changed forever after she learns a brutal secret about her own powers and past. One of the biggest hopes when you pick up a sequel to a book that you really liked is character growth and a more expansive understanding of all the characters involved. In my opinion, the author is very successful in that character.

The author dives into Foxglove’s secrets, Bastian’s trauma and the root cause of it, Kessa’s loss, and Ashe’s rule’s – and we watch as each character is pushed to their limits. This book was intense, emotional, magical and action-packed with a much darker tone than before and with much higher risks. Caruso manages to include plenty of food for thought with the inclusion of demons that are not totally bad and humans that are certainly not totally good.  

Ryx is an interesting character in that she isn't a total badass. She's not one to say she's the savior or the one to save the world. She has fatal flaws that seem to get her in trouble more times than not. Her best feature is that she has the time to improvise when things are going sideways, and after what the author did to the ending, we are in for a very long finale to this series. With the Graces long gone from this world, who will step up and stop another Dark Days from destroying humanity? With the Court of Nines and Crow Lords put away their animosity to join with Ryx and her friends in stopping the Dark Days? We shall see!

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