No sophomore slump here; this was another great installment for The Vengeance Trilogy.
The battle for the Crimson Throne has split Kisia and it’s time for the characters to choose sides. Prepare for shifting allegiances, betrayal, and revelations. The plot in The Gods of Vice continues immediately after the end of the first book and once again, vengeance and the deadly magic—Empathy—become the central theme. If you’ve read the first book and haven’t read the novella, In Shadows We Fall yet, I strongly urge you to read it now; it’s only 100 pages long anyway. The novella, despite being very short, provides a lot of backgrounds information that is still pertinent to this installment. For example, Empress Li won’t just be a simple name you read; you’ll know so much more about her each time her name gets mentioned. This of course doesn’t mean that you HAVE to read the novella to understand the events in this book, but it will certainly be beneficial in enriching your experience. So why not? It’s fantastic and it will only take two hours (at max) to read.
There was less tension here than in the first book because the majority of the story was spent on revealing the characters’ backgrounds and development. This makes for a slower paced book compared to the first one, but I still enjoyed it because Madson’s prose never fails to keep my attention. Also, I love having the chance to learn about these characters and the nature of the Empathy. The Empathy is an intriguing magic; it’s very simple in concept and yet beautifully deadly in execution. Plus, I have a feeling that the story direction here was necessary in order to achieve a (hopefully) great conclusion in the last book of the trilogy. Endymion and Darius were my favorite perspectives to follow. Reading about Endymion learning to use his Empath and his interactions with Darius here sparked some really profound discussion about justice.
“The whole world is unfair, Endymion. It is broken in every possible way. That’s why we invented gods to see our justice done, because it is easier to say: “Don’t worry, he’ll go to the hells for killing that boy”, than to deal with a world in which the wicked get away with whatever they want and the goods suffer for it.”
I only had one minor issue with this story, which was the romance element in the first 60 pages of the book. The romance didn’t really work for me; I feel like they were too sudden and abrupt. But that’s probably just me because romance in general rarely works for me anyway.
This is a shorter review compared to my usual reviews because I simply can’t wait anymore; I must continue immediately to the last book and the conclusion that awaits me. Overall though, The Gods of Vice was a great middle book and I still stand by my words that Devin Madson is a highly underrated author.
Side note: A huge round of applause to the author for including Kaze (wind in Japanese) and Raijin (god of thunder in Japanese) as the two horses’ names, which was inspired from Fujin (god of wind in Japanese) and Raijin from the Final Fantasy series, one of my most beloved gaming franchises.
You can order the book HERE!