Page Count: 480
Release Date: October 31st, 2017
Series: THE HEROES OF SPIRA, Book 2
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars – Liked It!
Note: I was provided a free copy of the book by the author in exchange for my fair and honest review.
Warning: Light spoilers ahead for the first book in the series. You can read my review of book one here: THE VENTIFACT COLOSSUS
With every passing day, the malevolent Naradawk Skewn gets a little bit closer to escaping his magical prison. Abernathy and the other high mages work day and night to contain him, but the prison is slowly failing, and in a matter of months he’ll be free. The only thing that can stop him is an artifact known as the Crosser’s Maze. Where it is or even what it looks like are facts lost to time, but the heroes of Horn’s Company will need to find it before it’s too late. Knowing only that the Crosser’s Maze is rumored to be on the neighboring continent of Kivia, Horn’s Company embarks on a quest to find the mysterious relic, racing to find it before an enemy agent beats them to it.
THE HEROES OF SPIRA is proving to be one of those series that expands and deepens the world mythology with every book. (Quick shout-out to the author for providing a full recap of book one on his website, it was such a great refresher!) Most of THE CROSSER’S MAZE takes place on the continent of Kivia, far from the homeland of Horn’s Company. They’re soon quick to discover that the gods of this land are not the gods of Charagan, and the world is much MUCH bigger than they realized. But even these new gods have surprising connections to certain party members, lending credence to the theory that the heroes weren’t chosen at random, but for a reason.
THE CROSSER’S MAZE returns to the format of alternating POVs between all seven characters. Because the group largely stays together, the momentum of the story is always moving forward, but the audience gets a chance to catch-up with the different characters and get a peek at their hopes, fears and secrets. Everybody has a chance to develop, and many characters discover new aspects about their past or abilities that begin to elevate this crew from ordinary adventurers to extraordinary heroes. Some characters get to go in surprising directions; I particularly liked Aravia’s new aspect, and Grey Wolf gets put through the wringer. There’s clearly still plenty more to learn about the characters in the books ahead, but it’s exciting to see the cast grow over time. (Plus, some romances appear to be blossoming in the party and they are quite adorable.)
Like THE VENTIFACT COLOSSUS, THE CROSSER’S MAZE has a very classic adventure feel to it, with many trials and tribulations. It’s definitely a book that moves at a steady pace, rather than a breakneck one, but always manages to pull the reader along – and I did find myself reading the last hundred pages in one sitting! If I had one complaint, it’s that sometimes the author delves a little too much into info-dumping, particularly with magical theory. I’m the kind of person who just enjoys that magic works, and doesn’t need all the explanation of the physics of why it works. However, these digressions are brief relative to the rest of the book, and I still had fun over all.
THE CROSSER’S MAZE is a complete adventure, but there’s still plenty of story threads left open for the next book. It’s clear that the author has plotted out a full arc for the series, and not everything is cleanly resolved at the end of the day. Horn’s Company still has a long journey ahead of them if they’re going to save the world, and I’ll definitely be back for the next adventure!