Legacy of the Lost Mage: Jaeth’s Eye
(The Agartes Epilogues #1)
Villoso’s work is tricky for me to review. I love the extensive, detailed world of Philipines-inspired islands, culture, backstory, ensemble cast of characters, magic that seems mythical to the characters themselves, focus on sibling and mentor relationships, etc. I loved that in The Wolf of Oren-Yaro which was my entry point into her world.
And that story was a little easier for me to follow. Maybe because there was a more traditional storyline (queen leaves country to find political allies, hijinx ensue).
This books seems more like the disparate tales of a magic user, a small-island girl looking for her mercenary brother, and the aftermath of a mercenary boy losing his mentor. Of course all these disparate threads come together near the end– but its a long pay off. And even when they come together, the way Villoso’s prose is sometimes a bit vague (slightly different names for characters, assuming the reader remembers from the other POV what one character might call another, summarizing instead of showing some important scenes, some characters not really experiencing the full consequences of their actions leading to some interesting motivations).
So while the story of Sume and Kefier are intriguing as they inexorably are drawn together in the path of a monster, they are neither one characters I could full heartedly stand with. They are certainly complex and don’t make good choices! (and are oddly passive sometimes)
However i’m more than willing to follow them across this world to see what interesting cultures, magic, food, etc. they encounter. You have to be in the right mood, however, for this book/series. On where you’re more interested in world building than the story itself. This book definitely doesn’t resolve any of the major issues.