Ioth, City of Lights by D.P. Woolliscroft

Series: The Wildfire Cycle #2 Rating: 4.5/5
Date of Publishing: June 20th 2019 Genre: fantasy, epic fantasy
Publisher: self-published Available: Amazon
Number of pages: 531 Author’s website: http://dpwoolliscroft.com/

Quote of the Book

“Watch out for your Archimandrite. He’s a lot older than you, and in my experience, people are like fruit; the passage of time just gives a man opportunity to get rotten.”

Blurb

Be careful what you strive for.

The people won and now Mareth is Lord Protector of Edland. But winning an election is a lot different than governing a country, especially when the empire of Pyrfew is expanding into the Sapphire Sea. In the interests of peace, Mareth must dispatch Alana to Ioth, city of a thousand lights, to convince the ruling merchants to turn their back on the empire. Neenahwi, armed with the knowledge revealed to her in her coming of age ceremony, desperately wants to determine Pyrfew’s plans and to take the fight to the emperor. But Llewdon, ancient elven emperor of Pyrfew, has had decades to develop his schemes and his agents are embedded in the least expected places. Everything seems to revolve around the disappearance of Jyuth’s master a millennia ago. 

Will the heroes of Kingshold be able to survive fire belching ships, strange slimes, sinister doppelgängers, demon dogs, greedy merchants and past vices to lead Edland to safety?

Following on from Kingshold and Tales of Kingshold, read the much anticipated next chapter in the Wildfire Cycle, compared to Michael J. Sullivan, Brett Sanderson and Daniel Abraham.

Personal notes

I’ve got an ARC in exchange of an honest review. Thanks to D.P. Woolliscroft for letting me join to the journey once again.

 

Song of the Book

For me Alana stands out the most in this book. She had become a bad ass lady, force to be reckon with. So I wanted a song that represents her. Now, that’s a challenge as I don’t listen to many female fronted bands. P!nk was a pretty natural choice and when I read the lyrics, I knew I found the perfect song. I would have liked something with a faster tempo, but oh well.

 

Review

About a year ago when I was still too new in the blogging world, I received a review request for Kingshold, which turned out to be a book with one of the most unusual settings I’ve come across. It was the debut of D.P. Woolliscroft, and the first book of a journey that I’m happy to be part of. I’ll keep this review spoiler free, unless you haven’t read Kingshold yet.

Ioth, City of Lights starts a few weeks after Kingholds ends. The election ended, the new rules are being set, and life slowly starts to get back on track. Mareth and the others have to get used to their new lives and responsibilities. Some are reveling in their new roles, some not so much. But even so, they all work together to make Kingshold into a better place. Soon they learn that change won’t come fast or easy. And if that’s not enough they also face the danger coming from Pyrfew. Alarming events are happening and Neenahwi sets out to dot the lines and seek out the old wizard Myank whose journals and books might have the answer to the question of what are Llewdon’s intentions. At the same time, Mareth would like to maintain Kingshold’s good relationship with the other kingdoms and countries, Ioth included. Sending an ambassador turns out to be more important than they initially thought.

While the events in Kingshold mostly took place in one setting, the title city, Kingshold, in the sequel Woolliscroft broadens the world and we get to visit several places. Mainly Redpool, Fymrius and Ioth, besides Kingshold of course. But Neenahwi’s travels take her to other places as well. I usually prefer books which are set in one place, to explore and immerse myself in that world, and I think that played a huge part in my liking Kingshold. Even though Ioth didn’t get the center stage during the whole book, we still spend a considerable amount of time there to leave an impression. The descriptions of the city and the names of the noble families reminded me of Italy, mostly Venice because of the canals and small water routes. It sounds like a really exotic place I’d like to visit.

“The lights of the city were unmistakable on the dark horizon; the lighthouses, the prinpicks of brightness across the rest of the inky blackness like the stars had come down to earth for a rest.”

What I like about Woolliscroft world is that the cities and places we get to visit are all very distinct and easily recognisable. I liked the glimpses into some characters’ life who weren’t primary characters. Gwin, for example who lives in Fymrius under the reign of Llewdon. The empire we see through her eyes looks like a completely different one from the Pryfew our protagonists know. Introducing Ioth through the eyes of Toad in the first half of the book was a great idea, this way we slowly get drawn into the city and learn about it through someone who actually lives and tries to survive there every day. Learning a bit more about the Jeweled Continent’s culture, especially the religion was a welcome sight.

The first half of Ioth, City of Lights is mostly about how things are progressing inside of Kingshold and Neenahwi’s search. Which is not to say it’s boring, oh no, plenty of things are happening and that plotline ends with a shocking twist. Which I absolutely didn’t see coming. Well I didn’t see coming the first twist either, so… If nothing else, I’m really looking forward how that plotline will continue in the next installment of the series. And the shocking events aren’t ending here. You, my friends are in for a truly emotional ending, which will tear your hearts out. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Besides emotions and shocking revelations, we also get plenty of political intrigue, fight scenes, and a few funny moments as well. But oh my god that ending. I can’t even fathom how things will go from there. I guess it was inevitable that something like this will happen, but damn, it still came out of the blue.

As for the characters, Ioth, City of Lights has a fairly large cast. Besides of those we got to know in Kingshold, we have a couple of new faces, such as The Librarian, Gwin, Toad – I’m fairly sure where his story will go -, Admiral Crews, the Saint and Jill. While Mareth was the MC of Kingshold, in the sequel the spotlight shifts more to Alana. She certainly came a long way from the beginning of Kingshold. As the events roll forward, her personality  grews along the way. She gains confidence, has a natural ability to lead and has a sharp mind. But she has to be strong to face everything that still will come her way.

“B…b…but you’re just a girl!” stammered the fat man finally.
“Yes, I am!” she shot back, her gaze boring into his. “And you are an over-weight, greedy, useless, old man. If you mention my age or my sex again, I will have you thrown out on the streets. Do you hear me?”
Her chewed-on nails dug into the palms of her hands as her fists clenched tightly, years’ worth of pent up frustration at men like this finally finding a release.

Probably the only issue I had is that somehow I couldn’t really connect with any of the characters. I’m not quite sure if this is because of the large cast, the 3rd person POV or the fact that I happen to be in the middle of a reading slump and I struggle to focus on anything I’m reading.

If you liked Kingshold, then you probably don’t need any more prompting to check out Ioth, City of Lights. While Kingshold was something fresh in Fantasy, Ioth, City of Lights is rather a classical epic fantasy with a solid world building, a large set of interesting characters, political intrigue and plenty of action. While it has its own story arc, it leaves plenty of room for the next adventure. I’m pretty sure Woolliscroft has quite a few things waiting for us in the future.

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