Thomas Locke (aka Davis Bunn) is a master at crafting opening scenes. Merchant of Alyss, the second book in the Legends of the Realm series tells of victory, restoration, loss, loyalty, love and duty. It begins with a battle between another crimson mage and a fighting forest.
Once again Hyam, Joelle, the Wizard Trace, Captain Meda and various royalty, wizards and elves are facing the rage of the crimson mages. They are joined by Shona, Corporal Alembord and other new, interesting characters.
I compare this story to that of a really good roller coaster ride. Hyam is still mourning the loss of his powers, sacrificed in order to destroy the evil crimson mage and save the lives of others. Now he discovers Milantian scrolls of war that only he can read, and must embark with his comrades upon a mission to find the Merchant of Alyss and obtain the others.
Destiny requires more offerings from him. They are costly, forcing a goodbye to a beloved companion, resisting an unwanted love, historical secrets unveiled, and a devastating attack that leads to twists and turns and heartbreak. It’s both sweet and bitter. Then onto the next upward climb of attacks and twists and turns. Hope is gained, then lost. Alliances are formed, treachery is exposed. Again we descend into a fast loop and another slow descent. It’s kind of emotional if you get into stories like I do, but it is necessary as great destinies are revealed.
I went on this adventure, not realizing it was a sophomore coming of age story. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but I experienced sadness, anger and indignation and the occasional laugh. If you know the secret of The Neverending Story, then you can rest assured that I did a lot of vocal engaging in the story as I went.
Some readers will find this book series controversial and not to their taste. That’s understandable, because there is a great amount of wizardry and spells. I admit, that’s not my favorite scenario either, but there is a story being told here. Hyam’s attitude and actions to the contrary, magic is the vehicle, not the principal thing. It’s a battle between the deceptive thirst for power at any cost versus the strength of truth and humility of love. Lessons are learned. Personal sacrifice is required to attain greatness, and you have to show up for the fight even when you don’t want to. I don’t mean to sound like Yoda. It’s a truth that is greater than fiction.
I did not like everyone in this book, but I grew to respect them. I did not like everything that occurred, but I was compelled to keep reading. Did I like the book? Overall, yes, but I was mad. It ended with unresolved issues, and I have to wait for book three.
I anticipate resolutions in the third book. I expect thrills, heroic actions and powerful retaliation. The roller coaster once again begins to ascend, but we will have to wait, hearts beating rapidly as we go. And sometime before the next book comes out, I will read this one again.
I received a complimentary advanced reader’s copy of this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review. Merchant of Alyss