Jen reviews A Call for Brighter Days, the second book in Nupur Chowdhury‘s Fantasy series, The Aerial Chronicles.
ARC provided by the author. Thank you to Nupur Chowdhury for the ecopy and apologies for the lengthy wait.
|Series: The Aeriel Chronicles #2
|Genre: Fantasy/Urban Setting
|Date of Publishing: May 31, 2021
|Trigger Warnings: Torture, violence, hate crimes, blood, gore
|Page count: 300
Tauheen is dead, and her followers have scattered. Some of them are now helping the vicious and deadly feather mafia hunt down their own kind.
Aeriels are being branded and killed, their wings hacked off and sold to the highest bidder on the black market.
But after a clash between the Aeriels and the mafia leaves hundreds of civilians dead, Ruban and his team must find a way to deal with this new, unfamiliar threat.
That might have been easier, if Ashwin wasn’t keeping secrets of his own – alternatingly fighting the mafia and protecting them.
As the bodies pile up and the line between ally and enemy gets further blurred, Ruban must make choices and sacrifices that will shape the lives of those he loves, as well as the world around them.
The distant sound of beating wings drew Ruban’s gaze to the wide, arched windows behind Janak. The sun had set some time ago, and he didn’t have the best view of the rocky, unkempt landscape beyond the castle walls.
But as he watched, a silvery shadow passed over the nearest hill, followed closely by another.
Janak tracked his gaze, turning slightly to glance out of the window. His lips twisted upwards in a mockery of a smile, before his eyes focused on Ashwin once again.
“Only one of us will leave this castle alive, come morning.” He touched his injured ear gently, some of the usual arrogance returning to his voice. “And honestly? I wouldn’t put my money on you, little prince.”
The End is Here by Alter Bridge
A Call for Brighter Days is the second book in The Aeriel Chronicles which picks up a year or so after the defeat of Taureen. New problems are arising for the IAW to tackle, in the form of a reinforced Sif-ore (the Aeriel version of kryptonite) and a reorganization of Taureen’s followers, most of whom are now backing the Feather Mafia (I love this name) a nasty bunch, who illegally sell the much sought after aeriel feathers, among other things on the black market.
Ruban and Ashwin are back! I fell in love with their odd-couple friendship in the first book and I couldn’t be happier to have this duo return.
Ashwin and Ruban have gained respect for one another and have come a long way in creating a working relationship and friendship from that base. But, when obvious secrets are being kept from Ruban, and it appears that Ashwin is helping the other side, doubts begin to settle in Ruban’s mind. These uncertainties are hard for him to put aside so easily, because of his built-in distrust of Aeriels.
Joining Ashwin and Ruban this time around are some familiar faces from the first book: Hiya, Simari, Vikram, and Safaa.
And some new faces in Janak Nath, who has a past with Hunter’s Corp, and Kaheen who has a past with Ashwin. With the introduction to Kaheen we get more of a personal connection to the story for Ashwin in this book. Something I liked a lot because it balances the duology nicely since Ruban had the personal slant to the story in the first book.
The first book A Flight of Broken Wings built on the history between the Exiles, and the Vankrai. Giving us details on how to coexist in this world of humans, and the reasons behind the Aeriels’ departure. A Call for Brighter Days relies heavily on that knowledge and does not delve into their histories much in this story, making the first book a must-read. Main points do get touched on throughout, so if you did happen to jump in here it would make sense but I think the nuances of their friendship/working relationship, and the world dynamics would be lost and it wouldn’t be as enjoyable of a read without that knowledge.
This story definitely feels like a conclusion to the main story arc of the Aeriels and the Exiles, giving us solutions to let all involved live harmoniously while leaving space for possible stories later to jump in check to see how those solutions worked out.
Because the characters and world are already established this is quite a bit faster-paced and full of action; though we do slow down and have some intimate moments between characters. And I really loved all the family and close-knit friendship scenes between them and the moments where we explore their regrets and their paths to forgiveness.
A Call for Brighter Days reads a little like a criminal gang, turf battle with the war between these different factions intensifying in one plot point, while the big bad is a nasty piece of work that has gone a bit off the deep end in his hatred for a certain Aeriel the other. The parallel stories build and come together into this crazy fever-pitch of a grand finale, complete with firebirds descending from the sky!
I loved fight scenes and I am partial to the crazy off their rockers bad guys so I just thought this was a lot of fun!