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The Lessons Never Learned

(The War Eternal #2)

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  469 ratings  ·  50 reviews
I am the weapon.

Eskara is free of the Pit, but far from safe. She is beset by the ghosts of those she has killed, and plagued by the ancient horror that possesses her. Enemies dog her heels, determined to see the last Orran Sourcerer dead. Worse still, there is new player in the game, one far more dangerous than anything she has faced before.

But there is one place that
Kindle Edition, 383 pages
Published April 28th 2020
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Average rating 4.19  · 
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This Review ✍️ Blog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷

Actual Rating: 4.5 Stars

“Age is odd like that. The more years you have, the less you have left.”

To be honest, I was nervous while going into this one because I usually am when I read second books in trilogies due to the notorious Middle Book Syndrome. Contrary to the book title, Hayes does learn the lessons and keep improving his writing! I actually enjoyed book 1 a very very tiny bit more but that does not mean this one was any less excell
Nick Borrelli
Apr 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Rob J. Hayes' War Eternal series started off with a resounding bang with Along the Razor's Edge. It was simply a jaw-dropping first entry that had me engaged from first page to finish. Rob just seems to get better and better with each book and series in my opinion. And he has this cool ability to reinvent himself every time. So I had the briefest moment of hesitation before I opened up book #2 because, what if this was the book where Rob slumps a bit? The guy's winning streak has to hit a speed ...more
Mar 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“Opinions are like children. Those who have them want them to be special, rarely realizing they are just as dumb as ugly as all the others.”

I had some trepidations going into book two. Although Along the Razor’s Edge was the start of the trilogy, it could have worked as an entirely self-contained story. In Edge, there is a singular goal and a definitive endpoint that remains the focus of the story, and it resolves itself by the book’s conclusion. But now that the environment will be changing
Jul 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Review now live at Grimdark Magazine

The Lessons Never Learned is Book Two of the War Eternal trilogy, that began with the fantastic Along the Razor’s Edge.

“Opinions are like children. Those who have them want them to be special, rarely realizing they are just as dumb and ugly as all the others.”

With this in mind, I’ll go forth with my review.

Now, before we start to worry that The Lessons Never Learned will suffer from middle-book syndrome as so many bridge novels in trilogies seem to do, let me
Rob Hayes
Mar 17, 2020 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Just to surprise you all... But I have read this book! It's pretty good.

The Lessons Never Learned (Book 2 of The War Eternal) has been released and is available now on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited.
Jun 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Lessons Never Learned follows the story of Eskara Helsene that began in Rob Hayes’ explosive first book of The War Eternal Series, Along The Razor’s Edge. This book finds Eska a free woman, though with plenty of baggage and a thirst for vengeance. I think I liked book one a bit better. I prefer those taut, contained stories full of tension where you know what a character has to do but you’re not sure how it comes to happen.

The Lessons Never Learned is much larger in scope, as Eska actual
Frank Dorrian
Jul 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Finally got the chance to write a review for this around work and my own writing, a frankly overdue one, as it was a book I highly enjoyed.

So, anyhoo, 2nd book of The War Eternal series by Rob J. Hayes. A bit of a different beast to the 1st in the series, free of the Pit's confines we get to see more of Hayes' world as witnessed through the eyes of the ever-grumpy Eskara Helsene, leading to a more overall epic, worldspanning adventure.

Like its predecessor, The Lessons Never Learned has a foot pl
May 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Overall rating = 4.5 stars

Full review over at Fantasy Book Critic

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: After the claustrophobic events of Along The Razor’s Edge, we get a much different story in The Lessons Never Learned. This second book from The War Eternal trilogy expands the world and background admirably so.

The story literally opens up where Along The Razor’s Edge ended. Eska and her remaining gang (Tamura, Hardt, and Yorin) have reached the surface. Eska can’t believe that her crazy sounding plan has final
Aug 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-need
This isn't a review, I lked it, though I've been restless and longing to read something familliar this pulled me in, especially the last 25%. ...more
May 15, 2020 rated it liked it
3,5 stars

Well, I liked the second book a little less than the first. Mostly because I think it has a problems with pacing. It just seems like in places it goes too fast, while some chapters are in whole Eska inner monologues and it feels like it's dragging.

Also Eska - I can't warm to her. Every time I liked her a little better, next thing she did, was to make some stupid decision and the dislike came back. She may be portraited that way deliberately, but still ... her chasing for power is tiryin
Feb 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
Going to write up a full trilogy review, so stay tuned.
Juliano Dutra
Dec 23, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
DNF 15%.
"Age is odd like that. The more years you have, the less you have left."REALLY!!??????
And i`m not nickpicky about modern expressions in medieval settings - especially since English is not my first language - but i can`t read "I have always had determination in spades" and wonder if they invented Bridge early in that world...
Jonathan Pembroke
Jun 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: indie
The reader's deep-dive into Eskara's strife-riven mind continues, picking up right where Along the Razor's Edge left off. Overall, I liked this one too. Eskara continues to grow on me; her faults and angst make her relatable. New characters are introduced (most of whom I liked) and several previous important characters had crucial development. As someone who reads for character development and dialogue, TLNL hit a lot of high notes. I found the pacing a little uneven at first but as the climax o ...more
Miriam Michalak
Apr 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In The Lessons Never Learned our feisty hero Eska is finally free of the Pit. With a motley group of companions, an otherworld entity hitching a ride and enemies on her tail the race is on to find a place of safety and start planning her revenge.

As we follow Eska through the world of Ovaeris, it’s races, magic system, gods and legends, are vividly brought to life. Rob J. Hayes worldbuilding is magnificent – I especially loved the floating city of Ro’shan.

Rob is not kind to our Eska, with the st
This review was originally published over at The Fantasy Hive.

The second act of a fantasy trilogy is the one a series lives or dies by. A first impression is important, but following up on the promises the opening of a series makes…well, many a novel has faltered there. The Lessons Never Learned, however, does an admirable job of following up on the threads first set up by Along the Razor’s Edge. This novel offers explosive sourcerous action, a richly emotional arc for series protagonist Eskara
Martin Sear
May 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Out of the darkness of book 1...

...Came some light. Book 1 was dark very dark, book 2, though full of betrayal, has shown some light and the story has blossomed. The lead character has developed beyond a revenge seeking hellion into something better, though still bent on revenge its much more complicated now. Book 1 was great but limited in scope. After book 2 the story has grown and i am loving it. Rob J Hayes is a talent, you'll know this if you read the heresy within books, he writes a great
Aug 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
Eska just can't catch a break!!
I'm so annoyed but I need to know what happens next.

Also, THANK YOU, Hayes! I truly appreciate Eska finding love... lady love. Nice work, sir!
Lynn K : Grimmedian
May 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs
This seamless epic trilogy, and rapid release publication schedule, is a dream come true for readers and reviewers alike.
It also takes a tremendous amount of work. It took Hayes quite some time to build this the way he needed to. His recent blog post about the trilogy, and about how this book in particular became “The book that nearly killed me.” Rob explains how this story came to be, and how book 2 was reworked, before he felt he could finish it and then later, could publish the trilogy. The e
Apr 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I highly enjoyed the first instalment in "The War Eternal" series, and I gladly accepted an opportunity to review the second book in the series - Lessons Never Learned.

To quickly recap the events - Eskara Helsene, the Sourcerer, along with the close-knit group of friends, crazy old man Tamura and grieving strongman Hardt, escaped from the Pit. They left behind a trail of corpses and are getting as far away from the prison as possible.

In "Along the Razor's Edge" Eskara introduced us to her world
Jan 07, 2021 rated it did not like it
DNF 20%

I tried, I really tried but what the fuck? Has the author ever been outside? The quick fix of totally unplanned escape is they get in the forest, where naturally one of them brings them food somehow, because 3 people can eat just what the forest offers.... in winter. Did I mention that the main hero si barefoot and there is snow mentioned? Guess frostbite isn't a thing in this world.
Then they are about to climb out to flying city - which is on an anchor, which has chain with hundrets of
Matt McAbee
Aug 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Lessons Never Learned, the second volume in Rob Hayes War Eternal series blew me away. I was expecting a lull in the action but was sadly disappointed. This book was just as intense and fast paced as the previous one but added a new depth with revelations into the world.

I so enjoyed being back with Eska and crew after the escaped the Pit and got back to the surface. Eska leads her friends to the one place she can find that will grant her the power that she so desperately wants so that she
David Biondi
May 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
8 more days till we see what happens! I CANNOT WAIT!
The Shayne-Train
Dec 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love grimdark fantasy. I love bad-ass women. I love revenge stories. I love f/f romance. I love possessions by horrors. I love stories told from the POV of the "villain."

This book has every one of those things in spades. A wonderful follow-up to a wonderful first book, this is a blood-drenched masterpiece.
Maxine Robinson
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was insanely good.


The Lessons Never Learned picks up immediately after Along The Razor’s Edge. We are very quickly thrown right back into the middle of Eska’s chaotic world and we witness the fallout from Eska’s actions. She often made rash choices and now her friends have to deal with the emotional turmoil left behind. She also has some physical changes that she needs to come to terms with, but in typical Eska fashion she compartmentalises and ploughs forward. Once again viol
Jed Herne
May 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-reads
Well, it’s official. Rob J. Hayes is the best author I’ve discovered in 2020. Now, it’s still early, so that could change - but it’s going to take a big effort to change that after The Lessons Never Learned.

The Lessons Never Learned is book 2 in The War Eternal. It’s a grimdark fantasy trilogy about Eska, a young magician struggling to reconcile her urges for revenge with her longing for human connection. It follows on from book 1, Along the Razor’s Edge, and while the characters, themes, and pl
Sep 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: epic-fantasy

I mentioned in my review of Along the Razor's Edge, first book in The War Eternal series, that I felt like we barely scratched the surface of the world and magic system in this series.
Boy, was I right.
The story continues right where we stopped in previous, with Eska, Hardt and Tamura out of the Pit. Promising revenge upon Tamerlane emperor makes for a dramatic ending, but right on the start of the second book we see how ridiculous that statement from Eska is.
They are on the run with no mone
Rowena Andrews
May 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, indie
Sometimes, it is hard for the second book to live up to the first. That is not the case here. The Lesson’s Never Learned built beautifully on the world and characters that I fell in love with during Along the Razor’s Edge, and I would say that I found book 2 even more gripping as I was unable to put the book down from start to finish. It left me needing more, and all I can say is thank the stars book 3 is less than a month away because I need to know what happens and you can bet I will be there ...more
Janelle Garrett
May 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5/5 stars

(Warning: this review contains spoilers)

I must say, typically I don't like sequels as much as the first book. However, The Lessons Never Learned is an exceptional follow-up to Along the Razor's Edge, and I admit I like it even better.

It picks up right where Razor's Edge left us - Eska has escaped the Pit and is finally back under the sky. (side note - the tagline for the first book SHOULD have been "No one escapes the Pit. Er, except Eska.") But her escape has cost the life (or so sh
Carl Phillips
Jul 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
The broader scope of this book adds pleasant depth to the universe while lead character also starts getting darker and darker. Great read.
Aug 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
"The rain is wonderful when you are thirsty, but a nuisance when you wish to cook dinner." ...more
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Winner of Mark Lawrence's 3rd Self Published Fantasy Blog Off (SPFBO) with Where Loyalties Lie

Rob J. Hayes was born somewhere south of the cockney wastelands in a small town called Basingstoke. He grew up with all the usual boy toys including Lego, Star Wars figures (complete with working lightsaber action) and plenty of Transformers. Playing with these toys inspired his imagination and as soon as

Other books in the series

The War Eternal (3 books)
  • Along the Razor's Edge (The War Eternal, #1)
  • From Cold Ashes Risen (The War Eternal, #3)

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