Release date: 22 June 2023
Synopsis: The end of time is coming.
All that’s left of Hallie Walker after the Eudora Jayde mission are nightmares and an ancestry tangled with dark secrets. When her parents send an urgent telegram to return home, she knows it's time to face the past she's determined to forget. In doing so, she unwittingly stumbles into a scheme as old as the planet itself. If only she can convince a certain cocky pilot to fly her home…
Reeling from the death of his brother, Kase Shackley focuses on anything but reality itself. But when his past sins spill into the light of day, Kase does what he does best—run. If only he knew how to tell a certain bubbly scholar goodbye…
The world of Yalvara sits on a precipice, peering into the murky depths below. The kingdom of Cerulene has been too quiet since attacking the nation of Jayde, and a dangerous extremist group lurks in the shadows. When the ancient Yalvs arrive in Jayde’s capital with stories of a dragon and its rider destroying their holy city, Hallie and Kase know the horizon of war has finally come. The question is, who will be standing when the smoke clears? Return to the Gate Chronicles with this second installment, Realms of Wrath & Ruin , set in world of crumbling First Earth artifacts, time-manipulating magic, and lost lore.
I am the type of reader who can literally see a movie playing in my head when I read books. Good books for me are never a matter of whether or not they play out in my head; good books for me play vividly and evoke emotion. Earnest’s sequel does that. It takes a bit to get the reel moving, but when the lights go down and the strip gets moving, it plays out like the best cinema I’ve seen.
Realms starts out slowly, which I feel is intentional so Earnest can just rub my face in all the havoc she wreaked on me from the last book. The characters (I also) do a lot of reflecting and mourning while setting up the premise for the next stage in the fight against the Cerls.
We have another POV in this one. Jove, Kase’s brother factors into the story heavily here. I love this dynamic, and Jove adds a nuance to the book that makes it very multi-dimensional. He adds to Kase’s backstory and provides some support for the overall political and governmental aspect of the series—think spy stuff but steampunky. Very cool.
This was not a typical second book in a series, which tends to bog down the plot and serve as a bridge between the first book and it’s resolution in the last one. Realms of Wrath and Ruin was amazing to read. Earnest writes in such a way that I can just slow down and enjoy reading. Like slow knitting (look it up, it’s crazy addictive to watch), I sit down and just immerse in the story and don’t try to hurry up and get it read.
As with Cities of Smoke and Starlight, Earnest ends this one with a bang on a huge precipice, and there will be absolutely no sympathy from me when I see any mention of all the pestering for the release date of the third book. You can’t just leave it like that and expect crickets. There will be some bookish noise making. *grabby hands*
I absolutely can’t wait for the third book to come out. I’m chomping at the bit already and so sad it’s already over for this installment. Highly recommended book for those who like fantasy with a touch of romance (no spice), love science fiction/fantasy mash-ups, enjoy steampunk stories, and just want a good literary romp to take their mind off of daily woes.
My profuse thanks to Earnest for this wonderful eARC, for which I willingly (and heartily) give my own, honest opinion.