Review: Sundered Souls by Tim Hardie

Sundered Souls by Tim Hardie

Jen reviews Sundered Souls, the second book in The Brotherhood of the Blood Eagle epic fantasy series by Tim Hardie.

Review(s) of previous book(s): Hall of Bones

Thanks to Tim Hardie for the ecopy and his incredible patience in waiting for this review.

About the Book
Series:The Brotherhood of the Eagle #2
Genre:Fantasy/epic
Publisher:Self-Published
Date of Publishing:July 26, 2021
Trigger Warnings:War, violence, torture, death
Page count:426
Book Blurb
Sundered Souls by Tim Hardie

Led by Johan Jokellsward, the Brotherhood of the Eagle fights to free the land of Reavesburg from its occupiers the Vorund Clan and avenge the murder of their chief. Only Johan’s inner circle understand their true calling, sworn to defeat an old evil that has risen once more.

Gautarr Falrufson, one of Reavesburg’s few surviving leaders, still defies the occupying forces and the Brotherhood’s small army must lift the siege of his fortress if they are to survive. However, Reavesburg is a divided land and the old clan loyalties no longer hold true. What reception can Johan expect if he clears the way to Gautarr’s gates?

With their fate hanging in the balance, Johan sets aside the accepted ways of his people and appoints Rothgar Kolfinnarson as his advisor, someone who has his own personal reasons to hate the Vorund Clan. Together, they must call upon mistrusted magic to gain the advantage over their enemies.

The second book in The Brotherhood of the Eagle series, Sundered Souls continues the epic fantasy tale involving magic, capricious politics and war. Who will choose the right side in the coming battle?

Quote of the Book
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“You have done well, come much further than many would have predicted. I have been watching you and knew it would always end here. So determined were you to see this through, to have your day and exact your vengeance that you have led everyone you love here to die. And die they will, because you refused to see reason and accept the offer of friendship that King Adalrikr extended to you. Your people died at Kalamar. Your Brotherhood will end its days at Romsdahl.”

Sinarr reached behind his shoulder and drew his sword, raising it into the air, where it glinted in the light of the sun. Randall saw frost spreading along its length from the hilt.

“I am waiting.”

Song of the Book

Victim or Survivor by Citizen Soldier

I thought this suited Rothgar.

Review

Well, I wasn’t too surprised to find Sundered Souls to be a solidly entertaining read, its predecessor, Hall of Bones was a great book that I enjoyed a lot. It must have left an impression with me too, because I had a very clear picture of the past book in my head when I started Sundered Souls and it has been three years in between for me.

In a nutshell, Sundered Souls returns us to Rothgar and his clan, their home at Ulfkell keep now in the hands of the enemy and his brother Johan, a landless clan leader. Johan intends to take their people to join with their sister clan, and show a united front against Adalrikr and his forces- a task easier said than done, as Gautarr and Johan have had their personal issues in the past, and also Gautarr’s keep is currently under siege and has been, for going on a year now.

Rothgar is our window into this world, and one of those characters that I enjoy the most. There is nothing I love more than reading about a good strong character having to rebuild and find their worth again after major setbacks.

And Rothgar definitely has had some setbacks in his life. The torture he received from Blackeyes has pretty well crippled him, taking away his life’s goal as a warrior, and in a clan of warriors- his worthiness to those around him.

But Rothgar has a good head on his shoulders, he’s quick thinking in a pinch and isn’t giving up despite those handicaps, He is standing strong and finding other ways to have worth, and to achieve his goals – currently, those goals are laced with a heavy desire for revenge and to see Blackeyes and Adalrikr die, but hey, we all need something to aim our hats at.

There is a lot more magic in this book than there was in Hall of Bones. In HoB we were just beginning to discover the world’s magic, and now we are really getting to see all the cool ways it can be used.  I still love its use for rounding out the world when Rothgar ‘visits’ the people he is connected to through his gift of mindwalking. I still feel it’s one of the best uses of naturally seeing the other POVs in a spov story that I’ve found.

( I don’t remember if it was called mindwalking in the book, or that’s just what I wrote so I’d know what the heck I was talking about in my notes).

That slow burn base that was the building blocks of Hall of Bones, laid the groundwork here to
allow Sundered Souls to capitalize on that foundation and shine all around. We see so much more of the bigger picture here – the characters, the political maneuvering, the world, and the magic – all come together with increasing tension that cumulates into a grand finale of a battle.

I have to say that the end battle scene was the chef’s kiss! I loved how the scenes utilized Rothgar’s gift and hopped around to different characters, letting us see key events, keeping it exciting and moving without a lot of repetition. Grande-scale war scenes tend to get very hack-and-slash repetitive and this was just exciting, and tense, and so up-close and personal feeling. Excellent stuff! And it also included an incredibly cool final fight scene and an end to one of the “big bads”.

TLDR

Sundered Souls is a worthy follow-up. The character-work, world, plotting, magic… all of it feels epic in every sense of the word. I can’t wait to see how it all plays out over the course of this series!

Other Notes

I’m terrible with keeping up with a lot of characters. Now I’ve read a few books by Tim, I know to expect a country’s worth of people and after the first five or so chapters, I just had to quit trying to keep track.

It seemed to work out for me for the most part; it also helps that I have the first book under my belt. But I can’t help but wonder how the author juggles so many people and relationships between them… all I could picture was one of those crime boards you see in dramas with messy spiderwebs worth of red string connecting the characters to each other. TBH that’s a little of what my head-space likely looked like trying to keep track of all of them too. D:

BTW, excuse any names that are incorrectly spelled. I swear I put them in my notes right but who knows what autocorrect did with them after that.

Our Judgement
They Shall Be Remembered - 4.5 Crowns

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