ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review
There is no calm after the storm, Devin Madson has crafted a sequel rich with wonderful character developments and illuminating revelations.
It’s been roughly seven months since I finished reading We Ride the Storm. Ever since I finished it, We Lie With Death instantly became one of my most anticipated books of 2019. Considering the unreasonably high expectations I had for this book, I honestly think that it’s truly praise-worthy that Madson was able to create another novel that repeatedly grabbed my attention. Before I begin my review, I would like to first inform everyone that there’s a “Story So Far” and a Characters List section at the beginning of the book that will help refresh your memories of the first book.
We Lie With Death is the second book in The Reborn Empire quartet by Devin Madson. The story takes place immediately from where the last book left off and I found it to be more character-driven than before. We Ride the Storm has shown the raging war that came upon Kisia, We Lie With Death built upon that tension by developing the characters and expanding the world-building through gripping revelations and resonating themes. I loved reading the clash of culture between Levanti and Kisia. The conflicts between them really portrayed the difficulty in unity between different cultures; they feel applicable to our world.
“A lesson we all ought to remember. There is only one person responsible for your actions and that is yourself.”
The first book also established a strong mystery surrounding the character Leo Villius. We don’t have to wait any longer because a huge chunk of the mysteries has been revealed in this book. I’m seriously happy with the way Madson unveiled the background of Leo; not only it was brilliant, but the revelations also sparked my excitement to read the sequel of this novel as soon as possible. Madson keeps up her efficient and effective storytelling narrative in many ways but it was the most evident in the way she revealed the secrets of the Villius’s family gradually; making sure readers always have something to look forward to within each chapter and beyond the last page of this novel. What made all the mysteries and revelations even more incredible was the way it all subtly connects all the way back to Madson’s first trilogy. I’ve said this before, reading The Vengeance Trilogy is not a requirement to enjoy this series, but it would be beneficial. I was constantly gratified by the Easter Eggs I found; even more so in this book. The Easter Eggs this time were provided mostly in Cassandra’s chapters; which was a huge step up from the previous book. The information regarding Overincarnation, the Laroth family, Saki, Empaths, and the souls will have extra weight only if you’ve read The Vengeance Trilogy.
“They had wanted to break our spirit, but they had failed. Levanti could be beaten, tortured, killed, but not broken. Never broken.”
Characters once again stole the spotlights. In my opinion, the greatest changes that Madson imbued into this book was the addition of another POV character: Dishiva e’javoren. I won’t lie, it took me a bit of time to warm up to Dishiva. It wasn’t because her POV was badly written, I was just too curious about reading Rah, Cassandra, and Miko’s story that I felt Dishiva’s to be distracting at first. However, the second half of the book changed my early impression of Dishiva completely. Dishiva’s story ended up becoming as good as the other three, possibly even better due to the superbly written camaraderie, mystery, and thrilling elements contained in her POV. Ironically, Rah, who was one of my favorite POV character from the first book ended up becoming the least interesting here. It felt like his character is stuck in the same place mentally since his first appearance; he received the least development compared to the other main characters. It’s very rare for me to find a fantasy series with a majority of female main characters that are badass and easy to root for without needing the phrases “she’s unlike any other woman,” to emphasize. But they’re here. I have mixed feelings on Hana’s POV from Madson’s first trilogy, that’s not the case here because I immensely enjoyed reading the female POV’s of this series; they’re spectacularly developed and all of them have a very distinctive voice to their compelling narrative.
“When you’ve lived out of the world as long as I have you realize how foolish such things as titles and gold are. You begin to measure wealth in knowledge and respect instead.”
Excluding the few minor issues I encountered, the rest of the book was as amazing as its predecessor. We Lie With Death is a fantastic sequel that delivered a fast-paced war story packed with exhilaration, shifting alliances, and unpredictable turn of events. This is the sixth book by Devin Madson that I’ve read and reviewed; none of them received anything below 4 stars. I’m confident that it’s only a matter of time before Madson becomes the next indie success story. You might as well give this series a go as soon as possible. If you’re still not sure about this series, this book features a savage head-chopping barbarian babysitting a whimpering dog. Need I say more? The wait for We Lie With Death was worth it, and now I proceed to my next wait for the third book of the series.
Official release date: March 28, 2019