Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Ember Falls


Like its predecessor, the second entry of the Green Ember tetralogy by S.D. Smith opens with an excerpt from The Wreck and Rise of Whitson Mariner, with Prince Lander questioning how he will die, with one possibility being monsters carrying him away. The main chapters open with Picket Longtreader traversing fog with Prince Jupiter Smalls, still seeking his missing family. Birds of prey give chase, and the two find nothing in an enemy camp. Picket’s sister Heather, in the meanwhile, is training to become a doctor, finding her initiation bittersweet.

Some chapters give focus on the slaves of the avian villain Morbin, including the female Sween, a skilled songstress. Picket continues to train with his master Helmer, and there is revelation of royalty thought lost. The rabbits have several battles with the antagonistic wolves and their allegiant birds of prey, and lapine loyalties regularly go to the test. One of the characters, Emma, ponders sacrificing herself to reach a ceasefire with their enemies, although Heather goes in her place, finding herself in Morbin’s lair, the second book ending with one of Sween’s songs giving her hope.

All in all, I found this a fairly enjoyable sequel, given its focus on animal characters, many of which are far from interchangeable, although akin to fellow animal-focused literary franchise Redwall, some species have no “good” members among them, although the rabbits are more black, white, or gray in that respect. The backstory is also good, and the pacing is relatively quick given the brevity of most chapters, the illustrations giving readers further insight into the relative “look” of the events in the book. Those who enjoyed the first book in the series will most likely in the second, and after reading the excerpt from the next book, I’m definitely game to read it.

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