My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Mark Barnes does incredible world building. It's extraordinary and many-layered, which can almost stun the reader with its complexity, at least that is how I feel reading the stories. On the other hand, there is no denying how many details he keeps in the air at once, and how they matter, which is a huge payback for the reader's investment.
I didn't connect with his characters in the first novel of the series but in Obsidian Heart, there is so much loss and suffering. Barnes kills several of my favorite characters in the story, and the others aren't in very good situations at the end either.
In fact, now I'm really looking forward to finishing the series because I'm worried about who will make it out alive. I'm also worried about the ambitions of characters I like. I'm stunned by the stupidity and greed of some characters, but more than that, it is the sacrifice of Indris's friends that mesmerized me. Also, I'm finally seeing an endgame that does not involve who rules Shrian (which only seemed of artificial importance to Indris, who has one foot on the exit pad.)
The other cool thing, which I expect to see in volume 3, is the real role of humans in the disaster.
Anyway, this was a fun romp. Warning: It's in media res, so there is a lot in the air.
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