In the previous book, Faolan was undoubtedly the hero of the story. In this one, Edme really steps forward as a major character. She is so unlike othe...moreIn the previous book, Faolan was undoubtedly the hero of the story. In this one, Edme really steps forward as a major character. She is so unlike other MacHeaths as well as other wolves of the Beyond – cheerful and kind despite all the sorrow she suffered, and yet she is strong and brave enough to deny the rule of MacHeaths. It’s no wonder that Edme becomes my favorite character, a brave daughter of a brave mother. I also thought that the story of two more MacHeath she-wolves, Katria and Airmead, and how they found strength within themselves to break the chains of tyranny was an interesting addiction to the main plotline.
We also get a much better insight into the life of the Sacred Watch. We've already known them from ‘Guardians of Ga'Hoole’ series, but there we actually see a side of them that is hidden from the other clans: how they train their new members, how they carry out their guarding duty, the friendship and companionship they share.
But there’s something rotten in the lands of Beyond… And when you say ‘rotten’, it usually means ‘MacHeaths’. As you can guess, this foul clan dreams of power – and they will do anything to get it. The war between wolves and bears is about to arise, and Faolan is torn apart – a wolf brought up by a bear, he cannot even think about fighting any of them. To stop this war, two wolves set out for a quest – Faolan with his knowledge of bears and Edme with her knowledge of MacHeaths. But to do this, they have to face the most dangerous beast of the Beyond – the beast no one had faced before without losing their life or their sanity…(less)
Promise of Blood had to take some time to make roots in my heart. This one went straight into it, making it love from the first till the last pages. T...morePromise of Blood had to take some time to make roots in my heart. This one went straight into it, making it love from the first till the last pages. There were a lot of the same aspects as in 'Promise of Blood' that I enjoyed. We can see the world outside of Adro, even if the worldbuilding wasn't deepened much in this book. It is the characters and the plot that make it shine.
Tamas is truly in his element now: war. No more politics and intrigues - just the setting that allows Tamas to show his strategical genius, which we could see during his battle with the Kez, when he sets of against superior numbers of enemy cavalry with only two brigades of infantry. Strategy, tactics and logistics all play a role there, and I enjoyed these warfare aspects. Moreover, Tamas, the army commander who doesn’t abide unnecessary cruelty, but doesn’t shy away from what he views as necessary evil, is still here, but we also got to see him as a person. Tamas’s character is deepened and developed through his relationships with those close to him – Vlora, a girl who could have been his daughter-in-law; Gavril, his brother-in-law who is more like a brother to him; some of his old friends.
While Tamas struggles to return to Adro, Taniel does what he does best: fights to defend his country. But as Tamas’s son, Taniel had never actually fitted into army hierarchy – or rather, he had never ever wanted to fit into it. With Tamas presumed dead, Taniel is just another soldier in the eyes of the General Staff – worse, he is viewed as a dangerous element, for he always says what he thinks and wouldn’t show respect to those who don’t deserve it. I can say that I agree with Taniel’s ideas, but not the methods he uses to implement them. Despite Taniel’s harshness and short temper, there’s an interesting connotation between him and Tamas. When one of the characters notes that Taniel begins to act like his father, Taniel says he is nothing like him. That’s quite interesting, since Taniel is both right and wrong. Both men are true leaders capable of inspiring people, and both would do anything to protect their country and their people. However, all the loss Tamas experienced made him a bitter and pitiless person, while Taniel is more humane. The perfect example is when Taniel takes one of the enemy soldiers prisoner and, after questioning him, ties him up to be found by his comrades, while some chapters later Tamas also takes a prisoner and, deciding he knows too much, calmly orders his death.
Taniel is the character that goes through a pit of terrible things; luckily, Taniel has loyal friends who can back him up, like Colonel Etan and his grenadiers and, of course, Ka-poel. Taniel wouldn’t have made it to the end of the book without Ka-poel, as well as she without him. I must say, it was a pleasure seeing their relationship develop. In ‘Promise of Blood’, it was only hinted that Ka-poel might have feelings for Taniel. In ‘The Crimson Campaign’, romance between them is a significant subplot. I liked the way it grew out of companionship and into something more as Taniel comes to realize how exactly he feels about Ka-poel.
Adamat’s story is the one that changed most – not in its plot, but in its quality. Adamat is still in Adopest trying to find his family – but his story become much more interesting. In ‘Promise of Blood’, his investigation consisted mainly of him questioning suspects without searching for any evidence or proof. Here, his investigation has all the elements that make it exiting – following the leads, spying on Vetas’s minions, making conclusions out of small clues, checking the evidence, finding allies, and, finally, storming the criminals’ lair. Besides, Adamat’s storyline has the most unexpected twists and turns. Due to the annotation of the third book, The Autumn Republic, I had a good guess about the book’s ending, but I could never guess how exactly it came to such an end. I’m thrilled about the next book as much as one can be!
Speaking about other characters, I was glad to see Bo play a larger role and see how far he is willing to go in order to rescue Taniel, his friend and his brother. I would’ve liked Nila to play more active role; I think she could have actually try to assassinate Vetas or escape from him instead of just planning to do it. Still, I enjoyed her chapters very much and I’m very pleased with the way her story turned out. One more thing: there definitely wasn’t enough Olem for me!(less)