Cover art illustrated by: Chris McGrath
The Fall of Neverdark by Philip C. Quaintrell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: The Echoes Saga (Book #4 of 9)
Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy
Pages: 709 pages (Kindle Edition)
Published: 29th November 2018 by Quaintrell Publishing (Self-Published)
The Fall of Neverdark was a great start to the second trilogy in The Echoes Saga.
If you have been following my reading journey this year, you will see that I have enjoyed my time reading through one book in The Echoes Saga by Philip C. Quaintrell each month. The Fall of Neverdark signaled the beginning of the second trilogy in the nine-book series, and I think it’s a more solid start to a series compared to Rise of the Ranger. It is always a risky move to continue writing a new story in a series after it has reached its completion. But in the case of The Echoes Saga, as the author stated himself, he has planned the series to be nine books long divided into three trilogies since the first and second books of the series. And I am gladdened by this decision. The new storyline here felt seamlessly connected to the first trilogy; it never felt forced. Once again, similar to the previous three books, The Fall of Neverdark provided another entertaining reading experience.
The story in The Fall of Neverdark takes place thirty years after the end of The War for the Realm in Relic of the Gods. The Third Age of Verda might end soon with the rise of a new powerful race of enemies, the orcs, and the new generation of heroes will have to take a stand in this overwhelming fight. As you can probably guess if you have read the previous book, a time skip is needed for the rest of the series to shine more, and Quaintrell delivered what I wanted and more. Most of the storylines in this book featured new main characters taking the central stage, but the narrative is also balanced with plenty of returning characters from the first trilogy. Although I was immediately immersed with The Fall of Neverdark, I was slightly afraid the new story would end up feeling forced or like a cash grab. However, I’m glad this fear was unfounded after the first 35% of the novel. The Crow, the orcs, necromancy, and The Dragon Knight made the conflicts in The Fall of Neverdark so compelling. Seeing our new and returning characters doing their best to struggle against surprisingly overwhelming odds was the direction the new trilogy needed.
“As Dragorn, we carry the most precious gift and the most powerful weapon. With it, there is nothing we cannot accomplish… Can you not feel it, wingless one? It has passed down the generations of our order for thousands of years. We carry hope.”
Maybe it is not fair to compare the quality of writing to Rise of the Ranger, the first book in the series, but I feel it’s necessary to mention that as a new start to a new trilogy, the prose in The Fall of Neverdark is vastly superior. The author mentioned in the acknowledgment section that this is the book he first wrote after he transitioned into a full-time author, and I think the cohesive quality of the plot, battle scenes, and characterizations can be felt in it. The new characters, like Inara, Alijah, The Crow, Vighon, and more, can hold up their end against the returning characters. I admit I am not a fan of Alijah yet; he’s prone to anger, although understandably, and he’s the kind of character who keep secrets and feelings to himself while thinking that his actions are correct. But the direction that his story took was, without a doubt, intriguing. And the same can obviously be said for the returning characters, especially Master Dragorn, all the dragons, Galanor, and Doran Heavybelly. Doran Heavybelly, in particular, received a LOT of development which makes me happy because I’ve always liked his character since his first appearance in Empire of Dirt.
I am limited in what I can say in my review because, technically, this is the fourth book of the series, and many things or names I mentioned could end up being interpreted as spoilers. Overall, despite my doubts and the slow start to the novel, The Fall of Neverdark is an engaging fourth novel in The Echoes Saga series. It continued superbly from Relic of the Gods while also starting something new in the world of Veda without sacrificing its characterizations. Based on everything set up in the series so far and the literal cliffhanger of this novel, I feel like this is the last installment before The Echoes Saga escalates to a higher level in Kingdom of Bones. My time with the series so far has been, for sure, captivating, and I am looking forward to whether the halfway point of the series will be able to turn The Echoes Saga into something special for me.
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