TAG TEAM ATTACK! Books two and three in the Blood Ladders trilogy I’m tossing into one review, not because I don’t think they’re worth their own, but because I read them in such close proximity to one another, my mind is having trouble keeping track of what happens when. As such, I’d rather just summarize here, because as you all know, if left to my own devices, I’ll talk for days about MCAH and her writing, and…well, I’m more than happy to, but perhaps you aren’t. So without any spoilers (which will already cut a chunk out) here’s what my thoughts are. (However, if you haven’t read book one, I don’t recommend reading this, unless the potential for spoilers in THAT book doesn’t bother you. JUST AS A WARNING.)
Book two sees us start with Morgan trying to come to terms with his health, and what that has cost him. So much lost in so little time, and despite having known it all for such a short time as well, it weighs on him. But he doesn’t have much of a choice anymore, and needs to head back into the land he started out in, to make sense of who he is and what he is being called to be. For me, this is where the series really picked up and started moving–which is interesting, as there is likely more action and less philosophy in the first book. But this is where all the character interactions begin to take form, and we the world which was set up in book one come into itself and have to prove (or disprove) what we’ve come to know. Relationships are put to the test, friendships are tried, all the good pieces of interpersonal drama anyone could want out of such a story.
I have not been quite so angry at a cliffhanger since some of Stephanie Erickson’s Children of Fate books, let me tell you. If I’d had to wait for book three? Oh no. There would have been so much hell to pay. Let me just tell you, that there is such a cliffhanger at the end of book two. Even knowing that there IS a book three and thus only so much can happen…you really never know. It’s nail-biting, and that’s not a word I use to describe much.
And then there’s book three.
I was hard pressed to set book three down. The only reason it took me as long as it did to finish was because I got caught up in work, and then promptly left my Kindle charging at work. This is the type of book you bring with you everywhere, searching for just the tiniest of spare moments to get a page or two in. And this is the first book in a very long time to bring me to tears. And not just tearing up, wipe the eyes, look up at the sun for a bit. No no. I had to put the book down because I was sobbing. It’s that kind of powerful, on at least two separate occasions and threatening on a third. At least. As I saw someone say in an earlier review, it is indicative that our author loves denouement–because this book gives a lot more aftermath than the average book would do. I believe the trilogy is the stronger for it, however. It would not be the same story, and it wouldn’t be right for the characters, to leave it at the final battle as it were. We all know that there is always more to be done after the close of the book, and we come to expect it. But some of this needed to be written out, and not left to the reader’s wonder. It’s simply who the characters are.
I say it in every book of Micah’s I review, and I’ll keep saying it until I turn blue in the face. If you truly want a master class in world building and character development, you need not look any further than any book written by M.C.A. Hogarth. The world is real, the characters are real, and the emotions they will left written all over your heart are all too real. I’m truly sad to see these characters go; I wish I had more books to read. But maybe that’s why it’s all so perfect. It needed to end.
Rating for both books: ***** (Highly Recommended)