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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Christopher Russell's Remnant, the second book in the complex fantasy military Divinity's Twilight series, is preceded by book one, Rebirth. This installment continues to follow the cadets from the Darmatian Military Academy as they search for the remains of the Darmatian army, colloquially known as the Rebellion. Along the way, they face numerous challenges, including a terrifying encounter with a water creature called Primal, but are saved by Major Reev, who reluctantly takes on the task of their further combat training. Russell provides multiple plot threads, the standout being the Sarconian Empire's domination and the inclusion of Governer Rittermarschal Auvrea Titania, who is worthy of a prequel in their own right. Sarcon's plan is in danger from within, battling to control a new host body, with challenges as he fights his host's remaining consciousness while in a new and improved body leaving him partially incapacitated. A discovery is made that pushes Sychon's son to the forefront and changes the story's trajectory in mind-bending ways.
Where does one even start with Remnant by Christopher Russell, especially after how great Rebirth was? There's a lot to unpack but let's see what we can do about that here. Russell remains faithful to a novel that is narrated through many alternating points of view characters. The cadets are different from one another and so it is natural that they have variants to their strengths and weaknesses. The magic training is the best and its application, in my opinion, is when their stories grow exponentially. At this point, I feel like I know them but this elevated it to a new level. There is an incredible stripping back of warfare when an attack becomes an insurgency and the result is what can best be described in non-fantasy terms as hand-to-hand combat. Think Vietnam with magic and on the streets, and that's what we are immersed in. Truly, it is glorious. Overall, Remnant is a worthy addition to the epic fantasy genre and lovers of the series will fall in love with it all over again. Very highly recommended.