Fantasy Review: ‘Fortune’s Blight’ by Evie Manieri

Fortune's Blight (Shattered Kingdoms, #2)Blood’s Pride was one of the first books I reviewed for this blog, and more noticeably it was almost certainly the first book I gave a two star rating to. A fast paced start and a fairly unique world with Mediterranean flair were enough to keep me reading but overall it didn’t leave a very good impression. It was an incredibly jumbled affair. It tried to juggle not just too many story lines but more so it tried to be too many different kinds of books. Rebellion, forbidden love, and a whole lot of ideas that seem to be thrown in without planning out how they fit. I thought for sure I was done with the series.

But time moves forward, tastes change, and I started seeing Blood’s Pride mentioned in favorable tones. So when Fortune’s Blight showed up in a slim three hundred and fifty page packet I thought ‘why not?’ Maybe it gets better. And in a lot of ways it does. This book is twice as good as I remember Blood’s Pride being. Unfortunately I don’t really think that it is good enough and this time I mean it; I am done with this series.  

Book one was about a rebellion against a northern race of peoples who had taken over. Book two is the story of the aftermath, expanding its scope to people from both lands. A sickness is spreading that thus far has no cure, plots are hatched and royal games are played, and notorious mercenary The Mongrel has disappeared from the scene (some claiming she is dead). It is a much more focused affair than its predecessor and as such tells a more coherent story all around. I still struggled with some plot threads because so many of the characters felt exactly the same, but as long as I reference the dramatis personae every now and then it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Still, some distinct voices would have gone a long way here.

While it may have been more focused I still think this series could do with a major culling of extraneous storylines. Because Manieri has some great ideas, and when one particular story line caught my attention I was hooked (after almost putting the book down half way through). But that one story line was really the only one that kept me going. It didn’t disappoint, I was rewarded at the end for working through the book. By design through it is really unclear that this particular thread would end up being so important and only a hunch had me looking closely at the validity of a text the people of the world were following quite literally.

That a series must be looked at as a whole doesn’t seem to be a very controversial opinion. So while I have no problem stating that this book is better than the series’ starting point I don’t feel it is good enough to recommend working through after a rough debut.

3 Stars

Copy for review provided by the publisher.

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