The Burning 2
“Keep fighting, and I swear that before it consumes us, we’ll burn our pain to ash in the fires of vengeance.”
So what’s the book about?
Tau and Queen Tsiora are desperate to stay alive against an impending attack against the natives of Xidda, so they create a dangerous plan so this attack can be stopped. For stopping, the attack only serves to allow the Queen and her fellow riders to gather their strength so that a major attack can be launched against their own capital. For the capital is ruled by none other than her sister, who now claims to be the true queen. For only if the capital can be retaken can Tsiora reclaim her throne and reunite her people, but in doing so she must defy her own sister so that the Omehi have a chance to survive against the coming encroachment.
These aspects attracted me the most while reading.
- The crucial thing in this book was the emotions and in this the emotions are ostensibly dominated by bad emotions – pain, hate, sadness, despair and everything else that comes to mind that gets you down was included here. The subject matter of the book is not exceptional, as it is a revenge story, but the emotions that the book conveys make you feel for it. You bleed through every page of the book and you have to be strong so that you don’t fall victim to these feelings. The love and anger that initially kept Tau going into the story as a driving emotion are now replaced by pain, which is his only motivator. Only Queen Tsiora shows a little hope and love, which can give this pain-filled Tau a little of these emotions. The burning pain that runs through the whole book also infected me with the aching flames and could make my heart burn.
- Tau is quite a difficult character for me, as he is so torn with revenge and pain that he often forgets everything else. He forgets his friends, his family and even himself just so he can get revenge. Even though he wants to take revenge for himself and for the people he loves, he often makes it worse because he doesn’t even think about them, but only about the fight. That’s why it’s hard for me to say whether I think Tau is great or just a moron. We already know what this revenge makes to Tau and that’s why I have to say that it’s difficult to say whether I want to support Tau and his revenge or whether I want someone to put an end to his pain and hatred. Because even though Tau is now an extraordinary weapon with possibilities that are really only meant for him, he always outgrows himself and it is a pleasure to watch his development. Nevertheless, this development comes at a high price, destroying not only Tau but everything else around him.
- The upheaval between the Lesser and Noble can be seen as a very small revolution against their own culture and politics, which really picks up speed in this volume. And the special thing about it is that even the queen herself starts this little revolution. I am a very big fan of these political stories and in this volume I even got two of them. One is the fight against Lesser and Noble, which is fuelled by Queen Tsiora’s plotting against Lesser, for which only the Noble have ever been considered before. And I hope that there will be more about this conflict, because it was exciting to see how the Noble behave towards these innovations and I am curious how this area between Noble and Lesser will develop towards the end of the series. And then there are the political machinations between Queen Tsiora and her sister. Her sister also calls herself queen, which is why there is an internal struggle between the Omehi people. I want more of it! Because even though Tau and his pain is the main point of the story here, I find this theme, the fight against Noble and Lesser, extremely exciting!
- We also get a deeper look into the mysterious realm of Isihogo, the demon world, the place where Tau trained to become as good as a Noble in the previous volume. Because I think it’s always the most exciting scenes in the book when Tau and also the other warriors find themselves in Isihogo and have to fight against this myriad of demons. I learned more about what visiting the realm of Isihogo means for the individual betrayers, however, because there are high consequences for failure. Especially towards the end, the realm of Isihogo was able to offer something very special, which I had actually only hoped for and I am very curious to see how this story about the demons will be continued.
Book one was the portrayal of anger, rage and suffering and book two brought the pain to life. Running through both books is the theme of love. It is said that great artists only achieve their best work when they are in touch with the emotions that drive their best work. And this progression of emotions can also be compared to the progression of the book. Because the first volume was the introduction to the emotions of sorrow and grief and only the end of the first book, and now the second book, could push those emotions to the point where you can feel the pain and also the hate. And so, for me, the second book is the better book, because I felt these transmitting emotions that I am now already afraid that the third book will finish me off completely.
So what are my final thoughts about it?
Fights, revelations and violence – a lot of gruesome violence – are described in this story that moves at a breathless pace. The African-based world-building is so excellently constructed and interwoven with the story that it serves as a constant reminder of the cycle of violence and revenge that never ends after all. In this brutal and depressing world, there is no escape for Tau and he is constantly forced to perform actions that lead to more brutality and pain. Evan Winter manages to convey so much pain in this book that your heart bleeds itself. This is not a story to be read lightly – no, you have to be prepared for this story to destroy yourself and we all like to be destroyed a little, don’t we? This book is phenomenal and has exceeded all expectations. If you thought The Rage Of Dragons was good, then you are in for a real treat with Evan Winter’s sequel, The Fires Of Vengeance. I found it extremely hard to put the book down as it kept me on the edge of my seat with non-stop action, character development and an ever expanding plot. I can’t wait to see what Evan Winter has planned next for Tau, because wherever he and his friends go, the world is on fire.
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