A Gallery of Mothers

Brathius Legacy Series Book 2

Young Adult - Fantasy - Epic
551 Pages
Reviewed on 06/22/2020
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

A Gallery of Mothers is an atmospheric work of fiction in the dark fantasy and adventure sub-genres and was penned by author J. S. Latshaw. An epic work for young adult audiences, this novel is the follow up to The Threat Below in the Brathius Legacy Series. In this volume, we learn deeper secrets about Sean Brathius’s experiment which doomed the world, and we travel with outcast hero Icelyn Brathius to save the last refuge of humanity from certain destruction. As more hidden truths and darkness unfold, a whole new horror is on the rise, and it becomes a difficult question as to whether survival is even the preferred option in the face of such terror.

Author J. S. Latshaw has crafted a beautifully dark and dangerous apocalyptic world for the characters to walk through, leaving us on the edge of our seats for adventure and horror at every turn. This is a multi-genre tale that weaves together the finest elements from fantasy, horror, dystopia, and beyond to deliver a hero’s quest like no other against impossible odds. This is sure to resonate with the young adult audience, but older readers will also be impressed by the immersive worldbuilding, psychological themes of self-discovery, and the intricate details of the history of darkness which has befallen this land. Overall, I would highly recommend A Gallery of Mothers to readers seeking superbly crafted dark fiction that offers a lot of twists and turns within its epic plot structure, and a promising series with lots more secrets to unveil.

Romuald Dzemo

A Gallery of Mothers is the second book in the Brathius Legacy Series; a superb story with great writing by J S Latshaw and a most suitable read for fans of young adult fantasy. An experiment has gone woefully wrong, the world is hanging by a very fragile thread with imminent disaster looming ahead, and an estranged girl must surmount improbable odds and face horrible situations to right the wrongs committed by her forbears that have led the entire world to such danger. These are just a few of the plot points of this mesmerizing tale. Follow Icelyn Brathius as she makes the journey that will determine the fate of humanity, traveling to the very heart of the dangerous desert, to the secret and dark tower where it all started.

The story opens with a very strong premise that pulled me in: the encounter between Sean Brathius and Laura. The discomfort that Sean experiences and his deep sense of despair are captured as the author introduces readers to the fate of Sean’s creations: Omathis and Amperous. They are children who turn out to be something far different from what he’d predicted. I was intrigued and couldn’t stop reading. The story only gets more complicated from page to page, with a phenomenal conflict that escalates to an explosive end. A Gallery of Mothers is well-written, and the world-building is exceptional, with characters that are memorable. The story is psychologically and emotionally engaging, the tension growing in intensity and magnitude. I loved the prose, the strong plot points, and, particularly, the strong female protagonist.

Asher Syed

A Gallery of Mothers by JS Latshaw is the second book in the young adult epic fantasy Brathius Legacy Series, following its book one predecessor, The Threat Below. Latshaw unleashes the aftermath of Sean Brathius' inhuman experimentation from the first line, pulling back the full scale of Brathius' many layers of stratagem as the world crumbles all around them. The narrative shifts from multiple points of view, giving voice and motive to the creatures who have turned and are ravaging humanity, those who were involved in their creation, and the few who are brave enough to try to break the generational cycle of war. As chaos descends among people who are desperate to survive against an enemy that evolves and adapts with terrifying speed, the timeline shifts between “then” and “now” to portray the atrocities of Sean's enterprise and the courageous but vulnerable aberration that is Icelyn Brathius.

A Gallery of Mothers is an incredibly good piece of fiction. In the interests of full disclosure, I must admit that I went into this installment of JS Latshaw's Brathius Legacy Series without having read the first book. While this didn't hinder my reading and I was able to clearly understand what was transpiring—such is the talent of Latshaw—I found myself a little jealous of those who got to see what went down in The Threat Below. The characters are wholly developed and distinguishable by their unique positions and the prose is so well composed that it practically sings. “Family is a promise that can never truly be kept....” The epic fantasy is in full bloom when the timeline is set in the 'now,' but in reading the 'then' portions, it flourishes in the same construct as a dystopian. Somewhere in the middle, the paired genres converge and it is executed so well that I hardly even realized it had happened. This is an excellent book in a wildly promising series and I believe it will be embraced by readers who enjoy a little bit of everything in a fantastic story.

Rabia Tanveer

A Gallery of Mothers is the second book in the Brathius Legacy Series by J S Latshaw. The story of Icelyn Brathius continues as she tackles the world while trying to make sense of it. Icelyn is not okay with being the outcast, but there isn’t much she can do about it. However, when she gets the chance to redeem her name, she takes it with both hands. The last refuge of humanity is threatened and it seems that only Icelyn can save them. She has to risk her life and hope she doesn't fall. However, that's not all she will have to do. She will also have to face the secrets of the past and unknown dangers of the present to protect humans. Can she do it?

This is a masterpiece and entertainment at best. I was blown away with how the author handled the story, gave two different narrative styles, and still make sure everything flowed seamlessly. YA fiction has such a bad rep for having redundant themes and similar characters. However, J S Latshaw did a great job of breaking those stereotypes and making sure to bring new and more powerful themes and characters to the table. While I loved reading Icelyn’s story and her struggles, I was very much riveted by Sean Brathius’s story too. We have a clear glimpse of the past and see what happened. I was sitting on the edge of my seat and biting my nails by the time climax hit. The author gave enough action, adventure, horror and mystery to hook me in and I was mesmerized. J S Latshaw is a master of world-building and held nothing back to make sure A Gallery of Mothers is in a league of its own. Incredible!

Jamie Michele

In JS Latshaw's A Gallery of Mothers, Icelyn Brathius is as plucky and strong as ever, pursuing growth from both within and beyond as the post-apocalyptic fantasy Brathius Legacy Series moves on in this second book. The world is as divided as the centuries between that tore them apart, converging as Latshaw intersects the inception of humanity's demise with the fragile construct that has kept them alive, even if that survival is precarious at best. Sean Brathius, the architect of the annihilation of man, leads the parade of how exactly this unfolded as one of many points of view characters. Icelyn Brathius has made her home in the Drowned City, returning to the birthplace she'd been exiled from at Mountaintop to try to protect the last refuge of humanity...but a rising new power threatens the line in the worst, most unimaginable ways.

I took some time out this week to read JS Latshaw's first book in Brathius Legacy, The Threat Below, as I'd been told it was worth the commitment and we all have a lot more time on our hands than expected. Book one was exceptional, and A Gallery of Mothers has cemented Latshaw's series at the top of my all-time favorites. There are a few standout characters that are particularly well portrayed and among them, for me, the most authentic was Travis. The kid is an absolute mug and he is missing every conceivable sensitivity chip a person might have, but even as a sort of ancillary character he's the one I most looked forward to hearing from. Icelyn is the only POV character with a first-person narrative which is loads of fun because she's a total firecracker, but she's also an incredibly well-meaning empath. There's a scene where she's welcomed into the home of someone who is actually imprisoned, and her heart aches a little when she detects pride in the welcome. The adventure and tension and action sequences are amazing, but it is the small authentic moments that deliver morsels of humanity even as the world is careening to its end.