Redemption (Legends of Lightning, Book Two) by T. R. Slauf
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Today, I’m excited to be reviewing Redemption (Legends of Lightning, Book Two) by T. R. Slauf.
So, if you’ve got your favourite drink to hand and are all settled in, let’s begin.
The Crimson Shadow remains at large, stalking the lands and inspiring numerous others to join her cause. Since her attacks began, a rebellion has been started in the name of freeing the Fae from the subjugation of humans.
Meanwhile, Realm Walker Esther gathers the Huntsmen to fight, to rescue her guide Oison from the Kingdom of Roses and its beastly ruler. As Esther steadily learns more about her power and her heritage as a Realm Walker, she becomes a stronger and more formidable opponent against all those who would seek to join with the Crimson Shadow.
For the purpose of this review, I’ve chosen to focus on the following five characters – Esther, Oisin, The Crimson Shadow (otherwise known as the Red Witch), Queen Aurora, and Queen Snow.
First and foremost, Esther continues to prove herself as a courageous young woman, having grown a lot since the first instalment of this fictional series. She has since learned to develop more control over her lightning powers. However, she still has much to learn before she is capable of winning any wars. Her core goal in this story is to rescue Oisin, her faithful guide who she was forced to leave behind in the Kingdom of Roses. Her feelings for him become more apparent as the story progresses, spurring her on until she becomes confident enough to stand up for both herself and he and others she cares for. It is here that Esther’s deep sense of love for others in her life becomes apparent because she is willing to risk her own life to save another’s. Throughout the story, her determination to help others and to rescue Oisin only grew stronger, a trait which I have come to deeply admire her for.
Next, we come to Oisin, Esther’s loyal guide and Huntsman. In book one, we saw him risk his life to protect Esther at all costs, showing great strength and fortitude in times of peril. However, book two flips their relationship dynamic, putting Oisin in a position to need rescuing, so that Esther must in turn develop her own strength in order to free him. In addition, we learn more details about Oisin’s past and how he lost his sister in this second instalment, details which allowed me to greatly empathise with him as a character, despite his not having much air-time, so to speak, in this book. Although we only see him briefly at the end of the book, Oisin remains an important character, whose presence lingers in Esther’s heart, even from a great distance, symbolising just how powerful our bonds with others we love can be.
The Crimson Shadow
Next, we come to the Crimson Shadow, also known in the story as the Red Witch, who acts as a primary source of conflict, leading her pet wolves on a massacre of the villages in the many kingdoms. With her intelligence and cunning, she uses an increasing number of people to gain further power and influence in the lands, even roping some of the royals into her insidious plans. Where in book one, we got to know the backstory behind this cruel sorceress, in book two she feels more like a mystery again, only appearing a few times within the book. When she does appear, she seems even more vicious than in the first instalment, intimidating others with brute force instead of using the somewhat seductive charm and more covert manipulation she possessed in book one.
Now, we come to Queen Aurora, who makes for a tough and brutal ruler, as well as a revered warrior-queen in her own right. She proves herself to be intelligent and strategic, making battle plans at a moment’s notice. She was also proud, fierce, and stubborn, with a cold edge to her that shows an apparent lack of compassion toward those outside her inner circle. However, I came to see this hardness as necessary to her character as it had allowed her to survive for so long in a world that could be so brutal and unforgiving. Despite her brutal ways and uncaring nature, there was a deeper sense of loyalty and care which lingered inside Aurora, one which was buried deep so she didn’t appear weak to others. As such, I found her to be one of the most fascinating characters of all.
Finally, we come to Queen Snow, another immortal ruler who Esther pleads with to join their fight against the Crimson Shadow. Back in book one, we saw Queen Snow dependent upon the sweet nectar of opium for her sanity (or lack thereof), lingering on too may painful memories otherwise to keep going in life. At the start of book two, she is still very much stuck in her delirious, opium-induced state, her mind dulled to the atrocities which are occurring around her. Learning more about her past and the number of loved ones she had lost, I came to understand why the opium called to her in such a way, providing what felt – to her – like a necessary lifeline. However, we do see her pull herself together for her kingdom, detoxing from the opium she is so fond of, so she can help fight on Esther’s side. Nevertheless, we soon see her inner fragility again as she struggles to be alone with her sober thoughts, constantly battling her overwhelming sense of grief to try and fight, to save her beloved kingdom from the Crimson Shadow’s wrath.
There were many positive features of Redemption, many of which are included below in a handy bulleted list.
- I loved the author’s writing style as it was very visual and emotive.
- The third-person narration worked well as there were many points of view to explore. In particular, Esther, young Oisin, Maarifa, and the other royal’s point of views were interesting to see.
- The history of the lands and their rulers was fascinating. I especially loved learning more about Queen Snow and all she had endured, both as a mortal and, later, as an immortal.
- I like that we saw other character’s point of views before our lead hero’s this time around as this offered differing perspectives on the wars occurring throughout the lands.
- I also liked the action scenes in this story, especially at the half-way mark, where Esther fights the Red Witch with her newfound abilities. To me, this felt like a very powerful scene.
- Finally, seeing how Oisin lost his younger sister (with his personal backstory elaborated upon) had my heart aching for him as a character.
Throughout the story, I noticed five particular quotes which made me stop and reflect.
1) ‘Nothing in life is guaranteed.’
2) ‘Sometimes the pain, the emptiness, was too great to face and so you ran. You run someplace, any place to start over, desperate for a new life.’
3) ‘Sometimes you must die so you can be reborn.’
4) ‘You are not obsolete – you just let your nightmares convince you that you are.’
5) ‘Histories are your most important of studies – the past is doomed to repeat itself – because it goes unstudied.’
Overall, Redemption proved to be a thrilling sequel to the first instalment in the Legends of Lightning series. I found myself loving every moment and I cannot wait for book number three.
Themes included camaraderie, war, power, grief, loss, and magic.
My Rating: 5 stars.
Recommended to: lovers of fantasy novels with fairy-tale twists.
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