Justice: Tainted Realm: Book 3 by Ian Irvine
|Justice: Tainted Realm: Book 3 by Ian Irvine|
|Reviewer: Ani Johnson|
|Summary: The final instalment of the Tainted Realm trilogy not only echoes the excitement of the previous two books but surpasses it. A breath-taking 7-out-of-5 for entertainment and a journey I didn't want to end.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 640||Date: June 2014|
|External links: Author's website|
The final battle. The ultimate price.
The dead, regenerated King Lyf and his Cythonian army are poised to attack as is the army of Axil Grandys, complete with the other four of the five legendary Heroes. Rix has to stop them all with the help of Tali (the escaped Pale slave), Glynnie (the ex-maid), and an army of Rix's own who would rather fight him than fight for him. As Lyf and Axil both hunger for the final master pearl that sits beneath Tali's skull, the endgame approaches. Meanwhile Tobry, former best friend of Rix and now an unpredictably dangerous Caithe shape-shifter, is still alive and without hope. Although the 10 year old Rannilt would argue with that last bit.
Highly acclaimed writer of fantasy Ian Irvine draws The Tainted Realm trilogy to a close with this rip-roaring finale that barely stops for breath during its 640 pages. Ok, I read fast (it goes with the territory) but the breakneck speed at which the action takes us meant I was reading faster still. The upshot is that this book is actually way too short!
Before Justice officially starts, Ian provides précis for both book 1, Vengeance and book 2, Rebellion. These could be used in a 'new readers start here' way but you'd miss out so much by skipping the first two novels so definitely for reacquainting rather than acquainting from fresh.
Justice begins right where we left our great heroes and just as great baddies. Tobry is tied to a tree waiting to be killed by Tali, the woman who loves him. Once we've dealt with that, we have a military face off, a fatal earthquake and Rix beginning to see the problems of leading an army that wants him dead - and we're still only 50 pages in! (Yes, breakneck speed is the phrase!)
Glynnie still hasn't forgotten her little brother Benn, captured because he couldn't wait where he was told to. In fact there's a lot of that this time too: an awful lot of trouble caused by and to people wandering off to sort things out on their own volition. We don't mind at all though as, in this author, we have someone who makes it so much more engaging than many other fantasy writers would when describing storming off or wandering around.
The characters develop as brilliantly as the plot. Tali's pearl-induced headaches are threatening to kill her before Lyf or Grandys gets a chance. Talking of whom, we learn more about the origin of the five heroes as well as Lyf's history.
Lyf also makes a new friend, or rather we make a new friend and Lyf magics up an antagonist. We meet the good (in literacy terms as well as temperament) Errek the first-king who's rather fun. As is the wonderfully sardonic ex-surgeon Holm whom I also love.
When we finally get there, the climax is one of the most exhilarating, scary, suspense filled rides I've had for a long, long time (and I speak as someone with a 3-books-a-week reading habit!). The climax may seem to finish early with pages left, but we aren't let down as these pages are packed with some left-field surprises.
Before we get there, there's plenty of gore, an evil winged monster, an interesting form of chemical warfare, Rix's ever changing painting and some tears. (I never thought I'd cry over someone choosing a direction in which to sit!) Yes, there are lots of things including the feeling that all epic fantasy should be this excellent. Thank you so much for the journey Mr Irvine – we must do it again sometime!
(Also a big thank you to Orbit providing us with a copy for review.)
Further Reading: I'm going to predictably point you towards the beginning if you haven't been on this journey from the start. If you've read it already, then why not pick something from our Top Ten Fantasy Books of 2013?
You can read more book reviews or buy Justice: Tainted Realm: Book 3 by Ian Irvine at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Justice: Tainted Realm: Book 3 by Ian Irvine at Amazon.com.
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