Thank you to Tor and Desirae Friesen for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in anyway.
Book: The Monstrous Citadel ( Chronicles of Amicae 2) by Mirah Bolender
Release Date: November 5th 2019
Tags: Adult | Fantasy | Infestations | Politics | Grief
Trigger/Content Warnings: Slavery | Breeding Machines
Other books in this series I reviewed
The City of Broken Magic
Amicae, City of Sweepers, survived the Falling Infestation which nearly destroyed it thanks to the efforts of Laura and Okane. While the ancient monsters have been beaten back for the moment, new and more monstrous dangers face them in the form of belligerent bureaucracy, dangerous gangs, grasping Sweepers bent on personal glory . . .
And Rex, the City of Kings, who breed their own kind of monstrosity.
Laura and Okane must go to Rex to reclaim the secret weaponry that keeps Amicae safe and come face to face with a horrifying truth about the Rex and their designs on all of Orien’s cities.
A few years ago I read The City of Broken Magic and at the time was quite charmed by this fantasy book where infestations of magic were a danger to the general public. It took a while but I finally read the sequel. The Monstrous Citadel is a very different kind of book, but that is not nessecarily a bad thing.
Laura and Okane saved the city at the end of the first book at great risk of their own lives and by losing their head sweeper, leader and friend Clae. But the council isn’t exactly grateful and the citizens wonder who will pay for damages. The only one stepping up for them is a mob which is not something you want to happen.
Laura has to fill in the emty spot that Clae left behind but doesn’t know how to do that. She wasn’t really ready for that position yet at the start of this book. Filled with grief, too focused on how to be Clae, too busy stepping through a minefield. Enter a foreign sweeper Juliana taking the head position.
The plot of betrayal from the foreign sweeper is obvious and in everyone’s face. It was meant to be. The real story is running underneath that plot. Laura and Okane’s relationship. Laura becoming a leader. Learning more about Rex. Okane’s past. Creating new allies. Don’t look at the surface story because there is nothing surprising there. But underneath is where the heart really is.
Laura and Okane’s relationship develops further in this story. They are pushed together as the only sweepers left, with their grief. They only have eachother to depend on when it comes to Clae’s secret. Laura shares everything with Okane. Okane doesn’t always recuperate that. Because saying things out loud means it becomes real, and he doesn’t always want to deal with that reality. It is kind of heartbreaking. More than ever I just want to hug our Okane. Luckily Laura takes good care of him. I loved how they referred to themselves as mini-clae’s at some point.
I also loved the allies that they make throughout the story. The two rangers they help with a job, a priest who they helped save the church, the inspector who learns it all. Their kindness and being who they are reached out despite all the rumors flying around about them at the time. Especially the two rangers are an interesting addition considering who one of them is.
While the main story is wrapped up here there is still a LOT that isn’t that I am expecting to be seeing in the ending installment. And I can’t wait to read it.
The Monstrous Citadel dives deeper into our characters and the world of Orien, creating a heart felt story in the midst of adventure.
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