|Series: The Wildfire Cycle #2.5
|Date of Publishing: April 28th 2020
Quote of the Book
“Intimidate. Talk. Get what he wanted. That was the way of a pirate. And he knew his squad looked the right kind of scary; the missing teeth, the curled lip, and what he always found to be the most important thing of any fearsome visage, eyes slightly dead and glassy, like they were eying you up as a butcher regards a side of beef.”
– Profit and Plain Sailing
Ioth was gone. Kingshold had fallen.
But we could not give up.
I am Mareth, once Lord Protector of Kingshold, and these are the stories of what happened after the fall, when everyone was at their lowest ebb. These are the stories of how the battle against Llewdon moved from the Jeweled Continent to Alfaria – the Wild Continent.
The next installment in the exciting Wildfire Cycle. Tales of Ioth, Book 2.5 of the Wildfire Cycle is essential reading, including a novella in five parts and four other short stories.
Dundenas (Novella) – Picking up immediately from the end of Ioth, City of Lights. The heroes of Kingshold have failed and Llewdon has seemingly won.
But Neenahwi rallies the group that is traumatized by the loss of their friends and sets a new destination for their fight back – the Wild Continent. Allied with the dwarfs and travelling by giant purple worm, they set out on a harrowing journey under the ocean and through the dark of the Dundenas to the birth place of Neenahwi and Motega.
The Beginning of Things – The Wild Continent has it’s own creation story, and it all began with a tree. This is the story of the mother-tree, the animals that sprang from her fruit, and the people they created.
Profit and Plain Sailing – Vin Kolsen has a ship, a loyal(ish) crew and success raiding Pyrfew ships off the coast of the Wild Continent. But why should that be enough when there is greater opportunity out there. If only there was a pirate king to bring together the North Sea Corsairs.
The Wanderer – What will the visitors in green and gold to Yamaagh’s clan shortly after they discover the destruction of their hated enemies, the wolfclaw, mean for his destiny of becoming the “the strongest living warrior of the tigereye”? And who is the man without a name setting traps for those who have invaded his home?
The Further Adventures of Old Man and His Pyxie – Jyuth is retired. He is done with magic and just wants to spend his remaining days indulging in those ‘hobbes’ he has been neglecting for the past few centuries. An old man just wants to have fun, but can he really walk away from everything?
I’ve got an ARC from D.P. Woolliscroft in exchange of an honest review. I’ve been a bit late with this review, but hey, better late than never, right?
I also count this title into my Armed with a Bingo card. I’ve put it under the ‘An anthology or poetry collection‘ square.
Song of the Book
I almost didn’t pick a song, but then I went to check back my Tales of Kingshold review and saw I chose a P!nk song back then and that got me thinking. So, I went to investigate whether I could match something to Tales of Ioth, and I think Where We Go is a pretty damn good choice. I think it mostly fits the novella, Dundenas.
I’ve been following the progress of The Wildfire Cycle series since way back when Kingshold was released. I’ve read and enjoyed all of the books D.P. Woolliscroft gifted the world with and I don’t seem to get enough of them. Personally I like this idea of getting short story collections out between books to make the waiting more bearable. Especially as these stories give insight into what happens between the events in two books and we can get to know some characters better. But enough chit-chatting, let’s see what Tales of Ioth has to offer for us.
Warning: if you haven’t read Ioth, City of Lights, this review might contain some spoilers for you.
P.S.: The paperback version contains an extra story, titled Strays, which is also available in the Dark Ends anthology. All profit of that goes to a charity cause!
The Beginning of Things
I think it’s safe to say that probably this was my favourite short story in this collection. As the blurbs puts it: “The Wild Continent has it’s own creation story, and it all began with a tree. This is the story of the mother-tree, the animals that sprang from her fruit, and the people they created.” I’m a sucker for these kind of origin myths and tales so it’s probably not much of a surprise why I connected with this one. It definitely set me up with the right mood for the rest of the book. I just loved the ideas here, how the Mother Tree is the center of creation, how her Children, the first animals – Wolf, Coyote, Rabbit, Phoenix, Eagle, Orka, Thunderbird and Tiger – live and work together in peace until they don’t. The Beginning of Things builds on the usual origin story elements, but in a unique way. It gives us a better understanding of how the Wild Continent or other known as Alfaria came along and how the different clans were born along with the tradition of Quana.
Probably because I’ve read it before going to bed, it gave me the vibe of those bed time tales my mom used to read to me when I was a child. It was a nice nostalgic feeling.
Profit and Plain Sailing
Do you remember the Draco-Turtle appearing in Kingshold? I’m not going to spoil things for you, if you don’t – and neither will this short story – but if you do and you ever wondered where it came from, Profit and Plain Sailing will be up your alley. Vin Kolsen makes an appearance once again – we met him in Tales of Kingshold – and has big ambitions! But to reach his goals, he also needs men and women who are willing to follow his lead. The most interesting character here is Mouse, who is able to control animals, but I’m not quite sure I want to know how… I think the main purpose of Profit and Sailing being included in this collection is that we could meet him and learn about his background a bit to better understand some events in the next story.
This novella takes up most of the length of the book. It has five parts, all focusing on a different character. Which, by the way, is a great idea. This way we can get to know them a bit better, to peek into their inner thoughts, to realise they are real people with flaws and mistakes just as everyone else. And it’s interesting to see how they deal with their situation on their own way.
A group of travellers – Mareth, Alana, Fin, Trypp, Motega, Neenahwi, Kanaveen, Dolph, Kyle, Mouse and the Ravens set out on a long journey through the Dundenas – the underground place called by such by the Dwarves – to the Wild Continent, hoping to find the answers there how to stop Llewdon and free the Alfjarun. But the journey is long and helds many surprises. I’m not going to go into any details, but I’m just going to say it’s one hell of a ride, where their company is grief, danger, magic and wonderment.
Woolliscroft’s biggest strength is creating a complex world full of heart and brilliant creatures. The Myconids definitely are among the most interesting beings I’ve encountered while reading fantasy. This novella will give you a wide range of emotions, making your heart race for all different reasons. The ending sets up the next book in the series, tieing Ioth, City of Lights and whatever is coming together nicely. I really enjoy the fact that we finally get to know a bit more about the Alfjarun culture, which reminds me a bit of the Native American one – as much as I know about it, which is, well, not much.
The Further Adventures of an Old Man and his Pyxie
I… I don’t even know what to say about this one. I’ve been a huge fan of the Pyxies in Kingshold, and I had a dedicated campaign to see them coming back. And here they are!
Jyuth has an… interesting idea about how to spend his retirement. He is travelling around the Jewelled Continent, hiding away his demon stones, while pretty much having the time of his life. For an old man, he does have stamina, I have to say…and he didn’t change a bit.
“Serenus, my dear.” Though he knew she preferred the moniker of the Matron, he refused to go along with other people’s petty egotism. He quite enjoyed being a cantankerous old sod. No wonder he didn’t have many friends left. “You look ravishing.”
This story has some really awkward and hilarious moments, breaking up the tension a bit between the other stories with more serious tone. But the absolute highlight of probably the whole book, is the Pyxie band! You’ve read it right. A band. Made of Pyxies. It’s just pure awesomeness.
The Wanderer is the tragic story of Yamaagh, the young warrior of the Tigereye clan, the first in generations to have a spirit animal. Pyrfew already started its expansion over Alfaria and their tactics are less than pretty. Some hard choice are made and at the end of the day, we get a clearer picture of what really is going on on the Wild Contintent. And although the story ends on a cliffhanger, but no illusion of how the events play out.
This review ended up to be quite long, so let me just wrap it up. I’ve been really impressed by the quality of the content in Tales of Ioth. Don’t get me wrong, Woolliscroft presented exactly what I expected of him and then some more. These stories not only give us a better picture of the characters we already know, but also we get to know Alfaria and the Alfjarun culture a bit more. If you like the Wildfire Cycle, then you definitely shouldn’t miss Tales of Ioth and all these brilliant adventures.