It should have been easy -- return the stolen feather and restore Ardhi back to his rightful place. But when Saker, Ardhi, Sorrel, and Piper arrive to find the island in chaos, returning just the one feather will not help -- not when the other three have mysteriously disappeared as well.
As Saker and Ardhi work to mend the distrust caused by Ardhi's betrayal and attempt to retrieve the other feathers, they slowly find a sort of peace with the islanders. That is, until Saker realizes they unintentionally led the Spice traders straight to the sacred island they were hoping to protect. Now Saker must fight with both the Va witchery and Chenderawasi magic to defend everything that Ardhi holds dear. But Saker's powers are very new, and their enemies have them surrounded.
Obviously, The Dagger's Path continues the story started in The Lascar's Dagger, following Saker, Sorrel and Ardhi on their journey to the Va-forsaken hemisphere (not a spoiler because did any of us really think the magic would let Sorrel do anything other than keep travelling with the other protagonists?). In the first half of the book, however, we are also introduced to two new characters who I also rather liked.
The new characters are a lawyer working for the clergy and a young boy who crosses her path. I was surprised at how much of the early part of the book focused on them, but I also really enjoyed it. As well as letting us know what's happening "back home" (though there are also the royal points of view there) they have their own part to play in the whole "saving the world" narrative. The stakes for which, by the way, are significantly higher than it seemed in the first book.
Where in the first book a lot of the focus was on Ardhi's quest, in The Dagger's Path it starts to take a back seat to greater goings-on (although obviously it's still very important to Ardhi). We learn more about the Horned Death plague and why the bad guy is so dangerous and evil. As always, Larke presents a compelling world, all the more so now that we get to see more of it. The Va-forsaken hemisphere is partly what we expected from the first book, but also Ardhi's home country was more surprising than expected. So that was cool. And I like how the quest segued into the set up for the last volume of the series.
I really love all of Glenda Larke's books, and this latest instalment in her latest series is absolutely no exception. If you enjoyed The Lascar's Dagger, why haven't you read it yet? And if you haven't, then go pick it up and start this wonderful series. Especially if you want something other than yet another medieval European-set fantasy in your life. Larke's fantasy worlds are some of the best I've come across.
4.5 / 5 stars
First published: January 2015, Orbit
Series: Yes. The Forsaken Lands book 2 of 3
Format read: ePub
Source: Purchased from Google Play
Challenges: Australian Women Writers Challenge