The Shattered Vine (Vineart War #3) by Laura Anne Gilman

This book felt more like the middle book rather than a conclusion. I think its because the entire book is Jerzy, Kai, Mahault, and Ao back where Jerzy started: House Malech Vineyards.

And Jerzy struggles with the level of power he as attained through acquiring various magical vine legacies along with the unblooded vines. And he and the others strategize and figure out that their enemy might be two enemies.

We also get a bit of POV from their enemy Ximen and his twisted Exile Vineart.

But most of the book is Jerzy struggling with his place in the world when the rules about separation between Lords, Vinearts, and Washers are coming unraveled. “Man makes the magic, the magic makes the man.” and “I am breaking rules, oh woe is me, I am so alone, none of my friends can understand the magic so I must keep them in the dark about the evil Exile Vineart’s magic ability to invade our land from across the sea.”

Which, don’t get me wrong, could be quite the juicy character development since each of Jerzy’s friends have their own delicious angst. Sadly, Jerzy’s angsting takes up most of the on-page time and I wanted more of Mahault considering becoming a solitaire and repercussions of her abandoning that chance for her friend, and I wanted more of Ao figuring out how to be a trader with no legs, etc.

And with all this build up, all this angsting about Jerzy’s powers, and the lure of the Root, picking apart his enemy’s specific magic abilities…..the way the two enemies are handled were too swift and anti-climactic in my opinion.

So it felt like a book of waiting…with a little bit of plot development sprinkled throughout mostly about things that don’t happen in Jerzy’s vineyard. Like a middle book. Maybe the author was keeping stuff open for more later?

Book One: Flesh and Fire

Book Two: Weight of Stone