Hello again! Today I’m bringing you another book review.
First off though, some Seregn news!
I recently received my first copy of the book! The purpose of the one-off copy is to check for any final errors before the print run begins. Just this week I sent the final comments back to my publisher! They’ll be corrected, checked, and the print run will begin.
How exciting right?
This brings me to an important point – publication.
I’ve been tentatively aiming for a June date, but over the past few weeks and months I’ve realised I will need to hold off a bit longer. Why? Well… I’m having a baby! Baby is due around the time when I’d originally planned to release the book which, let’s be honest, just won’t quite work!
I’ll be keeping you up to date as I figure out exactly when will work for release. I certainly still plan for it to be this year, but we will see. My newsletter subscribers are the first to know, so if you’d like to sign up, feel free to do so at the end of the post!
But, for now, into the book review!
The Princess of Everywhere is another delightful instalment in The Edge of the Sword series. The books thus far have slowly increased in scope and complexity, reaching something of a climax in The Throne of Cerecia, as a long-brewing conflict boiled over, tensions peaked, and we received a strong resolution to a number of plot points that had spanned two if not three novels.
In The Princess of Everywhere, we see the fall out of The Throne of Cerecia in a story that strikes me as a wonderfully contemplative tale, whilst still delivering the excellent characters, conflicts, and world for which I’ve come to know Amber Gabriel.
As usual, I won’t go into the plot to avoid spoilers, but like I’ve alluded to, The Princess of Everywhere feels like a natural continuation of the story of The Edge of the Sword. The novel picks up where The Throne of Cerecia leaves off, and centres around Princess Bashalis, her brother Chysh, and their companion Hatch, as they deal with the consequences of the preceding novels and set off on a journey which proves to not only be of a physical nature.
Let’s get into the characters!
We were introduced to Bashalis earlier in the series, but it wasn’t until The Throne of Cerecia when she took on a larger role. But this is Bashalis’ story. We join her as she struggles to deal with her brother, Chysh, in the aftermath of the previous book. This is certainly not an easy task by any stretch of the imagination, but Bashalis is by no means a weakling. I’d argue she’s one of the strongest characters in the whole series.
In fact, Bashalis’ inner strength is a real joy in this novel as she interacts with a wide variety of people, many of whom, it should be noted, would take great joy in murdering her brother. She tears down walls with people and, when that is not possible, still seeks to understand them while maintaining a representation of calm that belies any fear or panic – even though she may feel it!
Her interactions with everyone from women sharing a boat journey to the leader of a desert-roaming mercenary society, demonstrate her strength of character and her gentle soul. Gabriel weaves these various situations and tensions together brilliantly to show off not only her broad world, but also Bashalis’ ability to navigate such diverse situations with grace.
Chysh is basically the worst brother ever. He’s selfish, self-pitying, angry, dismissive, and many, many other words. We’re not meant to like him, per se, but wow, Gabriel does an incredible job of demonstrating there is so, so much more under the surface of this cruel, sullen, broken man. It would be incredibly easy for this character to come across as a one-dimensional villain (especially knowing his deeds from prior books), but Gabriel crafts him into a complex and unique character who, you realise throughout the book, is not entirely without hope for redemption or renewal. Nonetheless (and minor spoiler here) he is not redeemed, healed, or fixed in this book. That’s not to say he doesn’t experience any character growth, but Chysh by the end of this story has a long, long way to go. Perhaps his chief redeeming factor is his genuine love (albeit buried beneath a twisted and broken character) for Bashalis.
I don’t think there’s anything not to like about Hatch. He too we have seen before, but this is where he truly shines. Embarking on this tale as a kind of caretaker for the siblings, it’s easy to see there’s more to this mysterious character than meets the eye.
Dedicated, protective, and intelligent, Hatch is always doing his best to watch over Bashalis and Chysh whilst pursuing his own ends. His chivalry and concern is utterly heart-warming, and his interactions with Chysh provide excellent fodder for some strong interpersonal conflict.
On another note, the chemistry between Hatch and Bashalis is an absolute delight. As a bit of a romantic myself (though I don’t read straight romances), I so adored seeing these two characters get to know one another, fall for each other, and still have to navigate their circumstances to be true to their own commitments, values, and responsibilities – ahead of any desire for a potential relationship. That tension – knowing there are important reasons they cannot be together (at first at least…?) – just ups the ante, because those reasons are so legitimate, and to put them aside would be to betray, at least in part, who they are. At first, we don’t know what those reasons are, but as they are revealed it makes so much sense and just increases respect for these characters.
Eemya and Darius
I always enjoy getting a peek in at characters I know and love. Though they were only really present for one section of the novel, it was great to see how Eemya and Darius adjusted to the new status quo.
Before I end, there are a couple of other points I wanted to mention. The book, especially towards the end, has an important focus on the role of meditation. This stood out for me and even challenged me personally to not be afraid to look at the uncomfortable parts of myself, or to examine what ‘walls’ I had built in my own life. This is really big praise because I genuinely believe one of the most powerful parts of stories is their ability to change us, challenge us, and make us think. The story also has themes of dealing with mental health, stigma (Bashalis’ albinism was an important part of the tale), and inner peace.
Overall, The Princess of Everywhere was the perfect next story in The Edge of the Sword. It brought the tale back to what seems, on the surface, like a more contained narrative following a single plot line of characters on a quest. But beyond that simple description there is so much richness in the characters and struggles and themes. The more contemplative nature of the story leaves you thinking, while still taking you one a wonderful ride.
So, what do you think? Have you read The Princess of Everywhere? Or would you like to?
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