In this stunning sequel to Under the Lesser Moon, author Shelly Campbell brings us the heart-wrenching conclusion to Akrist’s journey. In a cruel, unforgiving world, Akrist must navigate what it means to be marked as both a Speaker—a leader chosen by Nasheira herself—and an outcast. Haunted by the sacrifices of first-born sons, he fears the world cannot be changed, even with a dragon’s help. If he does nothing, the cycle of sacrifice will begin again when the moons touch.
This is the second book in The Marked Son duology although there is certainly scope for the author to keep story telling in this world if they wanted too. That said this book offers an end to the story we started following in Under a Lesser Moon (which I reviewed here). It’s very hard to write a review for this one that doesn’t act as a massive spoiler for the first but I’ll do my best not to give too much away.
Like its predecessor this book doesn’t shy away from being dark, Akrist may have survived the events of Under a Lesser Moon but they have left him broken and desperate.
I did at times in the first half of this book find myself wanting to grab hold of Akrist and make him slow down and think before he acted, plunging off giving no thought to the consequences of his actions. As mildly frustrating as it was to watch him dashing off wildly about it made perfect sense with everything he’d experienced up until this point. His whole life has been about him reacting to circumstances forced on him, he wasn’t used to being the one who’s actions would affect others.
As the book goes on Akrist slowly learns to let others in and accept some help. I loved seeing his relationship with Nardiri build up and Akrist learn what it means to truly be a speaker.
A really great conclusion to Akrist’s story, I sped through this one in two days and thoroughly enjoyed it. If you don’t mind your fantasy with a very dark edge then I recommend you give this duology a go. It has a strong lead, tribal cultures, it’s own creation mythology (which is central to the story), sacrifices, terrifying wurms with an insatiable hunger and awesome golden dragons.
With thanks to Mythos and Ink for sending me a digital copy in exchange for honest review.
Voice of the Banished will publish on 31 March 2022