Timy reviews We Dream of Gods, the fourth and last book in Devin Madson‘s epic fantasy series, The Reborn Empire. Set to be released on March 21st, 2023.
An eARC was received on NetGalley by Orbit in exchange for an honest review.
Reviews of the previous books in The Reborn Empire series: We Ride the Storm, We Lie with Death, We Cry for Blood.
|Series: The Reborn Empire||Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy|
|Date of Publishing: March 21, 2023||Trigger Warnings: blood, death, torture, sex, violence|
|Page count: 624||Publisher: Orbit|
Possible The Sound of Madness Reading Challenge prompts:
- Free Your Mind
- I’m Still Here
- Have a Little Faith
- Middle Fingers
- Vészhelyzet (Emergency)
- I’ll Be There
- Heavy is the Crown
In this “complex tale of war, politics, and lust for power” (The Guardian), the fate of the world is decided when heroes and gods march into battle one last time in the searing conclusion of this bold and bloody epic fantasyseries.
There are no gods. Only men.
Betrayed by her closest allies, Empress Miko Ts’ai is thrust from ruler to pawn. But she won’t suffer the whims of men. A string of dangerous gambles could win Miko her empire for good, but to take back the throne, she must become everything her ancestors failed to be.
Rah e’Torin leads a herd again. Now he seeks to honor a promise he made a lifetime ago—to safely bring his Swords home. Yet Rah’s loyalty to the past may be his ultimate undoing.
Cassandra Marius is lost. Ensnared by memories that aren’t her own, Cass must decide who she really is, but the answer lies beyond one final confrontation with Leo Villius.
And trapped in the heart of the Chiltaen army, Dishiva e’Jaroven is handed unexpected power. The dream of a new homeland is within her grasp—if she risks everything and trusts her former enemies.
“Somewhere along the way, reason and honour had been consumed by hurt, leaving us raw and broken.”
Keeping with traditions, for the last book in The Reborn Empire series, I once again picked a Skillet song. Battle Cry for the endgame.
It’s hard to believe that our journey with The Reborn Empire series has come to the end. And what a journey it was! As always, finishing a series you’ve enjoyed is always a bittersweet feeling. Since this is my last opportunity, I’d like to say thank you to Devin Madson for bringing these characters to life.
Since We Dream of Gods is the 4th and last book in the series, this review might contain mild spoilers for the previous books. I’ll try to make it as spoiler free as possible, though. It also probably will be much shorter than any I usually write, because, ugh, it’s hard to find new things to say at this point.
We pick up the threads right where they were dropped at the end of We Cry for Blood. Things aren’t looking very well for either of the main characters, and the time for final confrontations is drawing even nearer. And frankly, it’s very hard to predict what fate (or more like Madson) has in store for each of them. This eventually makes you sit on the edge of your seat and fly through the pages, because once you start going and get back into the flow – took me a bit to reconnect with the characters and place myself back into the story – it’s just impossible to stop. At the end of each chapter, you just want to keep on, to find out what happens next. And you also keep guessing what the endgame will be and how all the plotlines will eventually meet. Even though each unexpected turn of events brings us closer to the finish line, it’s just impossible to tell who is going to be victorious.
Will Leo be able to make the prophecy come true and lead his own holy empire? Will Ezma rule the plains as she planned for years? Will Rah lead his people home in peace and keep Gideon’s head on his neck? Will Miko finally have the power she always wanted and prove that women can be just as good – or better – at ruling? Will Cass and Kaysa make peace and fulfill their contract of killing Leo at last? Will Dishiva find a way out of Leo’s clutch and bring Gideon’s dream into a reality? Will any of them survive? So many questions, and then some that are waiting to be answered. Rest assured, Madson tucks all loose ends in nicely, and although it takes some extra curves – maybe a bit too many for my liking – all plotlines get a resolution one way or another.
Knowing how many years of hard labor went into creating and bringing this series to life, it’s all the more impressive how Madson was able to pull off this story of epic proportions. Through the lens of three very different cultures crashing – the Chiltaens with their faith of The One True God, the Kisians and their reverence with which they treat their emperors as gods, and the Levanti with their tenants and respect toward every living creature – Madson brings very relevant societal issues to the fore. Such as the political (and general) treatment of women, the different types of ruling systems, LGBTQ rights, diaspora, personal and national integrity including the way we handle refugees, just to name a few.
Miko, Dishiva, Cass and Rah all stand for something, they are not always on the same side, nor are they making the right decisions all the time or are easy to label one way or another, but they each have to teach something to us if we dig deep enough.
Throughout the series, Cass remained my favorite of the main characters. Partly because of her sass and sarcastic humor and partly because of her character arc in general. It was easy for me to connect with her and root for her until the very end.
With more than 600 pages, We Dream of Gods is a big book, and yet, I don’t think there was a time when it felt dragging. Madson’s style of writing is smooth and easy to fall into. If you’ve come this far, then you already know what to expect. It’s a worthy finale to The Reborn Empire series. And although I found myself slightly disappointed by the ending – I had certain expectations I was bracing myself for, that never happened as Madson took a slightly different path which is not necessarily a bad thing, just one I did not anticipate – I will walk away from these books with a sense of closure and fond memories.
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