"Across all the lands of Ixachipan, its hypnotic, magical music sounds. Those who battled against the Empire have been enslaved and dispersed, taken far from their friends and their homes.
In the Singing City, Xessa must fight for the entertainment of her captors. Lilla and thousands of warriors are trained to serve as weapons for their enemies. And Tayan is trapped at the heart of the Empire’s power and magic, where the ruthless Enet’s ambition is ever growing.
Each of them harbours a secret hope, waiting for a chance to strike at the Empire from within.
But first they must overcome their own desires. Power can seduce as well as crush. And, in exchange for their loyalty, the Empire promises much."
In this second book in The Songs of The Drowned time has moved on 2 years and things are not looking good for the major characters from book 1. Lilla is training to be a soldier in a humongous army, his husband Tayan is slap bang in the middle of the enemy with powers awakening inside him and Xessa is a slave and fighting in the pits for the entertainment of the masses.
I'm going to be honest and say I was excited by the last of these most of all. I know from Anna Stephen's last series that she really knows how to put the grim in Grimdark fiction so was expecting lots of blood, pain, death and gore in Xessa's part of the story and I wasn't disappointed one little bit.
The magic system, same as book 1, I found fascinating and the setting, which is a sort of medieval Central/South America really stands out as something different to all the regular European Middle-Ages books out there.
As the storylines come together ready for the final book and everyone gets to where they more or less where they need to be I can see only pain, blood, gore and suffering for them - and I can't wait 😉
Thanks to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for inviting me onto this tour and to Harper Voyager for providing the review copy (all views are my own and not influenced in any way).
Please have a look at the reviews by others much more eloquent than me (below) if you get the chance.