Been a while since I did one of Micah’s books, isn’t it? For a while I was waiting for paper versions of books so that I could add them to my bookshelf, but I got impatient and Maggie could use some uplifting stuff as her job situation changes, so OFF TO THE E-BOOK STORE I WENT.
Lord, I’ve missed the Eldritch.
This is the second book in the Princes’ Game set, the first of which was EVEN THE WINGLESS, which I’ve linked there to my review of it. (God, was that really 2 years ago?) There will likely be Wingless spoilers in here, and possibly some Mindtouch/Mindline spoilers…? This is where the books start to mush together. Read on with discretion. I’ll try to keep spoilers to a minimum.
Okay, so. We have Lisinthir Nase Galare, Ambassador of the Alliance to the Chatcaavan Empire. He is an Eldritch, a very reclusive and xenophobic race of people who basically don’t talk to anyone ever, unless they have to. Lisinthir is…a bit of an anomaly in his people. But he’s been with the dragons (Chatcaava) for a while now, and given how different they are from the Eldritch, he’s going to need some help recuperating.
Enter Jahir Seni Galare and Vasiht’h. Jahir (if you couldn’t tell from the name) is another Eldritch and a far-cousin of Lisinthir. Vasiht’h is a Glaseah, one of the Pelted races–races borne out of genetic experiments of many years ago now. The two of them together are a promising duo of xenopsychotherapists (there’s a mouthful) who work through the esper capabilities both of their races offer them. They have a wonderful and fascinating relationship, one deeper than either of them ever expected. And since they’re familiar with Eldritch in ways pretty much no one else is, they’re the best bet for Lisinthir.
But no one could prepare any of them for each other.
I’ve been both waiting with bated breath for this book, and been terrified to read it. I absolutely adore Jahir and Vasiht’h; they’re two of my favorite characters of Micah’s. I also really loved Lisinthir’s story from the den of the dragons. But putting them together…? I read bits and pieces of this when Micah was serializing it for her website, and every word I read made me more and more uncomfortable. Lisinthir is everything Jahir isn’t, and everything Jahir isn’t familiar with dealing with. And Lisinthir…well, he’s used to a very forceful and violent climate. They’re going to have very different reactions to things. and poor Vasiht’h in the middle, trying to balance his work and his partner.
I’m not going to lie and say that I was completely relieved of my worry by reading this. I spent a good chunk of the book squirming around and whining about what was happening. But so were the characters. And that, I think, is what saved me. Everything I was uncertain about, Jahir was uncertain about–and CERTAINLY Vasiht’h was uncertain. I think I bonded more with Vasiht’h as a character in this book than any other. And by the end, I was more comfortable with the whole thing.
Lisinthir and Jahir are a fascinating pair to watch around each other. Both Eldritch, both descended of the Galare line, both lords of their station…and yet two more different people you almost couldn’t name. Watching them have to both balance the worlds that have formed them and the worlds that they were born into is fascinating. Add Vasiht’h into the mix with his Pelted nature–and an asexual one, to boot–and his unique connection to Jahir, and you have a very convoluted story.
I love how intertwined Micah’s worlds are, and to see them all lacing together is wonderful. Even with the hesitation I’ve felt, the convoluted nature of this book is both required and interesting. Everything Lisinthir has been through lately has been complicated, and unknotting all of that isn’t going to be a simple task. Likewise, the issues that Jahir faces throughout the course of this are so steeped in who he is as a person that they’re not going to come loose by playing nice. As is brought up in the book, they truly need each other, in many ways. And that kind of conflict is uncomfortable, but in the way necessary things are.
I’ve already bought book 3 in the Princes’ Game set, AMULET RAMPANT, and I’m looking forward to seeing where the war goes from here. With where this book leaves off…there is so much possibility, and Micah has time and time again proven herself capable of anything. I’m excited.
Rating: ***** (Highest Recommendation)