ARC provided by the publisher—Tor.com—in exchange for an honest review.
A compelling read that offers a satisfying conclusion to The Sacred Throne trilogy.
I won’t be talking about the plot at all; there’s nothing about the story that I can say without spoiling something from the previous two books. As for what worked for me, there were many. I found the start of this book to be significantly better than the beginning of The Queen of Crows. This doesn’t mean that The Queen of Crows began horribly, but in my opinion, that book requires readers to binge-read the first two books or at least read them not too far in-between; the story continued immediately with no refresher on who’s who and it took me a long time to care about Heloise again. However, The Killing Light is not inflicted by the same situation; it started by efficiently refreshing reader’s memories on the characters and most importantly, allowing me to reacquaint myself with Heloise Factor because Cole elaborated on her characterizations first.
I loved this novella, it made me remember why I loved Heloise and her characterizations in the first book. Heloise’s main personality is kind and hot-tempered, seeing her struggles with the massive burden of responsibility that’s required of her was compelling. In this last book, the story focuses its themes on lies, faith, difficulty in unity, and the difficulty of connecting differences in cultures and beliefs. Freedom, family, war, sexuality, and love remains Heloise’s main concerns in the upcoming final battle; I enjoyed reading this book and I simply had a really hard time putting it down.
“War, she was finding, was nothing so much as a series of choices between bad and worse.”
One thing that I found to be very consistent throughout this trilogy was Cole’s brilliant characterizations. Not gonna lie, I actually enjoyed reading the dialogues, internal struggles, and interactions of this series more than the battle and action scenes themselves. I feel like Cole truly knows how to make sure that Heloise’s feelings—whether you like her or not—felt evocative for the readers. The philosophical moments of the book were also a nice addition of resonating topics to our current society that simultaneously helps flesh out the characters further. Come to think about it, it’s super rare for me to highlight many passages in a novella, but I really did for this trilogy. The pacing was incredibly well-paced and the actions were bloody vivid and intense. I can definitely see how Cole’s experience in writing military fantasy before played a role in bringing terrific results in the action scenes.
“Men do what they want when they are in charge, and they tell themselves it’s right.”
Not much else to say really. This is the end of this wonderful grimdark novellas trilogy and I want readers to experience this with little info. Cole mentioned in the acknowledgment that he was worried about writing a series in a genre that’s not in his comfort zone; I’ll say that there’s nothing to worry about and he needs to write more grimdark series, preferably a full novel this time. This is an awesome trilogy that mains a right balance between actions and characterizations thoroughly. Overall, I had a really fantastic time reading through it. Believe me, that’s saying a lot because generally, novellas don’t work for me; I prefer reading novels more than novellas or short stories. There were still some questions unanswered world-building wise, but The Killing Light tells a satisfying conclusion to Heloise’s journey with impact. Well done, Myke Cole!
The Sacred Throne: 12/15 stars
Official release date: November 12th, 2019
You can pre-order the book from: Book Depository (Free shipping)
The quotes in this review were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.