Book Review – Rose Point

In my continuing obsession with M.C.A. Hogarth, I’m jumping my order just a bit to post my review of the sequel to Earthrise, in honor of its release date of today!

Second in the Her Instruments trilogy, Rose Point follows the continuing adventures of Captain Theresa “Reese” Eddings, commander of the TMS Earthrise, and her somewhat misfit crew. As with all misfit crews, her entourage is not complete without the enigmatic Hirianthial Sarel Jisiensire – a member of the xenophobic race known as the Eldritch, far from his home by predominantly his own choosing.

Rose Point picks us up where Book 1, Earthrise, left us. The crew is struggling to find its footing with their new Eldritch member, and still recovering from the intense dramatics of the book before.Taking what appears at face value to be a simple and quick commission, it becomes – as it inevitably must – quickly the opposite. Hirianthial is captured by rebels on the planet they visit, and in a moment of life-or-death panic, comes into what he sees as a set of powers believed to be eradicated from Eldritch society. Panicking, he commits himself to returning home – to the Eldritch world – to see if there is anything to be done…any way to salvage who and what he is, or might be becoming.

As is expected, Reese and the Earthrise crew doesn’t let him go without an escort.

The trials and tribulations of four Pelted and a human accompanying Hirianthial back to a world that few have ever seen before is as glorious and awkward as anyone could dream. Hogarth balances the tragedy of the characters’ failures with the swells of their success with unparalleled ease, the roller coaster crafted as only the pros can manage. There is backstabbing, politics, family squabbles, unsolved enigmas, romance, drama, surprises – all the necessary ingredients to make this book a truly wonderful little decadence. We are introduced to Hirianthial’s family – both for good and for ill. We – and Reese – finally meet her mysterious benefactor face to face. In some of the most heart-wrenching (and all too fleeting moments), we start to see the tentative blossoms of romance form between Reese and Hirianthial – and hold our breath each time a sharp wind comes to knock it away. And in a truly dramatic and fist-clenching finale, the fate of the final book is left entirely in the air – along with the sanity of the characters…and possibly, the readers.

Rose Point shows some of the first clear indications of cross-over with Hogarth’s other novels, with mentions to the plot of Even the Wingless finding their way into critical moments here, and several heavy-handed indications of the main characters from the novel Mindtouch and companion short story “Family” pointing out a potential for all three Eldritch narrators to find their way into the trilogy’s denouement.

As is expected by now of Hogarth’s writing, Rose Point continues to deliver some of the finest character development and plot balancing available. The action is balanced with the development, and while there isn’t something happening every second, the plot never stands still. She is honest with the failures of her worlds, and proud of the successes – and never tries to turn one into the other. It would be incredibly simple to make a world of shut-ins all very uniform, and yet she doesn’t, allowing the Eldritch to have their own colors and hues – if a bit self-muted. This is a perfect segue novel into the crescendo the final book promises to be, and it will leave the reader pawing at its pages, desperate for more by the final word.


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