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Kingdoms of Dust

(The Necromancer Chronicles #3)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  663 ratings  ·  56 reviews
With her master dead and her oaths foresworn, necromancer and spy Isyllt Iskaldur finds herself in exile. Hounded by assassins, she seeks asylum in Assar, the empire she so recently worked to undermine.

Warlords threaten the empire's fragile peace, and the empress is beset by enemies within the court. Even worse, darkness stirs in the deep desert. Ancient spirits long held
416 pages
Published March 12th 2012 by Orbit (first published January 1st 2012)
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3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  663 ratings  ·  56 reviews

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Matthew Brown
Jul 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
This third book in Downum's Necromancer Chronicles sees heroine Isyllt Iskaldur in, again, a completely new setting — in this case, the Assari empire and its surroundings, with influences from Arabia, North Africa and the Sahara. The author does settings very well, even if they're always inspired by real-world places, and this book doesn't disappoint there.

Where it does lack is what made her last book, The Bone Palace, suck a cracking read — a character to act as a counterbalance to Isyllt's bro
Mar 19, 2012 added it
I loved Amanda Downum’s first published novel, The Drowning City, for its imaginative worldbuilding, its fascinating characters, and its rich, evocative prose. I loved her next novel, The Bone Palace, even more, because it had all of those and wove them into an intricately choreographed plot full of mystery, political intrigue and betrayed love and loyalty. In consequence, I had very high expectations for her third novel, The Kingdoms of Dust, all the more so because it was supposed to take plac ...more
May 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Love, love, love this series so much. Once again, Downum creates a gorgeously textured world; however, out of the trilogy, this one has to be my least favorite. Three reasons:

1. Adjectives were a little bit repetitious at times, something I'd never noticed in the previous two novels. The phrase "bruised and tired" became especially grating for me because I read the whole thing in one go and noticed the same phrase structure at least 4 times within a single hour. The adjectives still do their job
Matt Fimbulwinter
Sep 13, 2012 rated it liked it
He's a fae-touched warrior rescued from a terrible Turkish-ish prison. She's a necromancer spy mourning a lost mentor and lover. The other he is a djinn trapped in human flesh struggling with the politics of a vast empire! They're all feeling Too Old For This Shit!

With the third book of her Necromancer Chronicles, Downum brings back two of my favourites from The Drowning City, Asheris al-Seth the demon wizard, and Adam, the lethal mercenary.

One of the interesting things about this series is tha
Oct 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
The first two books in the Necromancer Chronicles (The Drowning City and The Bone Palace) were fairly geographically focused (each took place primarily in and around a single city) and relatively standalone. This, the third volume, broadens the canvas considerably. This time Isyllt Iskaldur finds herself across the sea in the distinctly Arabian-tinged realm of Assar, initially to seek out an old friend, but then pulled inexorably into magic-tinged conspiracies (which, as it happens, provide more ...more
Blodeuedd Finland
Book 3 and the last one. Quite a shame really. Because yes there was en ending, life goes on. But there was no Ending. Instead it was left that there can be more adventures.

In this book Isyllt is in exile. Someone is trying to kill her, and she meets up with old friends. There is also a new adventure. Something old and dark is trying to get loose. Ohhh I liked that part. The more explanations I got the more I liked it. I also liked that we got to know more about this world. It seems that everyo
Dec 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Not as tight-wound and compelling as The Bone Palace, but still lyrically written, deftly characterised and a fun and interesting read. I love how hard the characters live, and how they do not emerge from that unscathed, and how they carry their scars, and heal. It's realistic and it's beautiful and it's not made easy or gratuitously sexy. (Though, that said, she writes some of the most meaningful and intimate sex scenes I've ever read, and rarely are they even slightly explicit.)
Jan 18, 2015 rated it it was ok
It had moments of good moments of I can't stand this almost gave up on it. made it to the end and I guess kinda glad I did.
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
The final novel of the Necromancer Chronicles, Kingdoms of Dust is, in large part, a book about grief.

Our main character, Isyllt, has found herself bereft of a mentor-lover-employer due to events earlier in the series. Removed from her employment and with little left for her in the city she calls home, she sets off in search of an old friend.

He, too, is haunted by the ghost of an old lover. They make a morose pair!

This novel is more character-driven than its predecessor, and by necessity it give
Carl Phillips
Jan 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
A superb ending to a series that improved every single step of the way from the first chapter of book one.

The pacing may not be for everyone, but as a story that focuses very tightly on a handful of badly damaged, grieving characters this was a masterpiece in the study of human emotion and how the bereaved and abandoned act, react and interact with each other.

I sincerely hope this series is progressed in some way in the future.
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another excellent adventure, with strong characterization and good pacing. This is such a consistently strong series. If you like the Locke Lamora series, you will probably enjoy these. This novel, like its predecessors, contains a few sex scenes, in case you have an aversion to those.
D.A. Rice
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
out of all of these books, I liked this one the best.
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Jan 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Downum ends her trilogy with a volume that I rank between the first, The Drowning City, and the second, The Bone Palace. Here's a brief summary of the plot, including spoilers for previous events in the series: (view spoiler) ...more
Ry Herman
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
A necromancer and spy is recruited by an old conspiracy in a desert empire. I’ve long enjoyed Downum’s Necromancer books. While this one lacked the complex wheels-within-wheels plots of the first two, it was a satisfying read with Downum’s usual emotional depth and intriguing characters.
Eleanor With Cats
I love this series but book 2, The Bone Palace, is the best. The Kingdoms of Dust is more about everyone travelling around and weathering occasional assassination attempts, after halfway through the book the protagonists meet the conspiracy people, then Isyllt charges in and solves the problem, then the protagonists talk a bit and they all leave for their further adventures.

I think it's supposed to be a character growth novel. The kingdoms of dust are not just Assar and the jinn city and lost I
Mar 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
Necromancer (or entropomancer, if you prefer) goes to mythic Arabia (by some name or other). Usual crowd of apprentices, old friends-and-enemies, princes, djinn, assassins, etc show up for the ride. Once again, I had trouble tracking all the names. Also, everybody is a spy. I think the author has decided that the only interesting people are people who make hard decisions, meaning decisions about other people, meaning they all have to be spies (unless they're princes or high priests). I'm not obj ...more
Marie Michaels
Nov 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
As expected, I loved this book. Downum's prose is rich and fine-grained -- she grounds the reader instantly in every gorgeous setting she creates. The texture of her locations and mythology is really exquisite. As usual, the characters are deeply flawed and fascinating people driven by motivations even they may not completely understand. Both of these aspects consistently astonish me and stand out as stellar in the fantasy genre.

The third book in this fantastic series both exceeded and fell sho
Apr 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
What always stood out for me in this series are the lush descriptions, they really do paint a picture. This book lacks none of that, which is pleasant. It was also nice to see the return of some of the characters from the first book. However, I don't think it's quite on par with the first two in the series.

I felt that the plot was promising, but came to an end rather abruptly, without as many complications as might be expected. For example, I felt that (view spoiler) was d
Mar 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: spec-fic
C2012: So, the 3rd book with Isyllt Iskaldur as the protagonist. Having stumbled across the author’s blog with the wonderful tag line of Bride of Raindogs, some of the creative processes are revealed and this certainly made me warm to this book more than the 2 previous ones or perhaps it is just that the author has now become more accomplished. Either way, this was a good read. The return of some old “friends” and the development of some of the older characters brought the book to a satisfying c ...more
Jeremy Preacher
May 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
As much as I love and miss Savedra, I think The Kingdoms of Dust is the strongest novel in the series so far. The threat is clear and rather more fantastic than the mostly-political machinations of the first two novels, and all of the action is obviously connected to it. Despite that, all of the decisions stay firmly grey - there's no obvious moral choice for anyone, and that, more than anything else, keeps the tension up.

I wish we'd gotten more of Moth's character development - she has obviousl
Mar 20, 2012 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, series
(view spoiler)

A really big problem resolved all too easily in the last few pages of the book. Seriously, Ms Downum, it's all right to write a 600-page nove
Apr 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Faaaantastic. Somehow I mixed up titles and wound up skipping #2 before reading this, but there are (I think) as many references to plot events in the first book as in the second, so I still felt pretty well-grounded in the series. (And we get to see Asheris again, yay!) Isyllt remains a fascinating, complex character-- a powerful yet wounded woman who surrounds herself with equally powerful yet wounded people. Downum's grasp of world-building and more specifically culture-building is astounding ...more
Jul 02, 2012 rated it liked it
I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as the previous two books, although it's still pretty decent and well-written. I think the problem is that the plot takes a long time to get going. At the beginning, Isyllt just seems to randomly drift around, until mostly outside forces set her on the rails to plot resolution. It's not quite clear why she springs Adam from prison, whether she's actually planning something, or if it's just part of cleaning up her past.

In a way though, the disjointed plot str
Rainbow Unicorn
I have a lot of thoughts about these books but I'm pretty tired right now so basically I'll just say it was so cool seeing so many different leads, such diversity among them, and Isllyt is one of the most starkly human-feeling fictional characters I've had the pleasure of journeying with. It's hard to believe that I almost stopped after the first novel, because Xinai and Zhirin just weren't doing it for me -- and there was so much of them, I didn't get to know Isllyt in that first book. But I'm ...more
Jun 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Necromancer Chronicles readers, jinns, people who like the desert
This is probably my least favorite of Downum's "Necromancer Chronicles." I thoroughly enjoyed both book 1 and 2 of the series but number 3 falls short. There just wasn't enough action in this for me and simply too much wallowing in Isyllt's loneliness and defunct relationships. The author does passably well with her scenic descriptions and sense of place, as usual, but I got the feeling that she was trying to push those things to the side to better concentrate on a failed attempt to delve deeper ...more
Strong, intelligent, sarcastic, witty female lead characters who aren't damsels in distress, trying to be one of the guys, or making incredibly stupid decisions out of some misguided attempt at "twuu wuv" (true love)!
No Insta!Love!
Smart, funny, charming male characters that aren't flaming jerks!
Incredible world-building!
Realistic relationships (platonic and romantic)!

*happy sigh*

This was fantasy done well and I'm truly sad to see this series end.

...Bone Palace (book 2) was my fav
Aug 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book was awesome. Personally, I think Drowning City should have been followed by Kingdoms of Dust, instead of Bone Palace. While Bone Palace had a few interesting characters, it was lacking. Kingdoms of Dust has the original characters we loved, and continues their journeys in a fast paced, engaging return to form. And tops it off with a gratifying conclusion.

Kingdoms is by far my favorite of the three Necromancer Chronicles. Absolutely loved it.
Oct 07, 2013 rated it liked it
I didn't love this third book in the series as much as the previous two - the pacing is a bit off and it takes a while for things to get going. She also doesn't spend as much time with the other compelling characters in her world as she does with her protagonist, as compared to the other books. That said, this is an excellent series. I love her world-building, her characters, the way that bisexuality and trans characters and being poly are accepted and her writing. I want to read more!
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“A dozen cobras moved as one, shattering their bottles. Wine and glass sprayed the room. The snakes sprang for Isyllt's attacker with fangs unfolded. He screamed high and sharp as they uncoiled, long slick bodies whipping through the air. She wasn't sure if their venom could survive death and pickling, but it didn't seem to matter. After several bites, he curled on the floor, weeping and trying to bat the undead snakes away.” 3 likes
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