The Hour of Embers

Book Two of An Empyrian Odyssey

Fiction - Fantasy - General
330 Pages
Reviewed on 01/27/2019
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Hour of Embers is a work of fantasy fiction by author N.L. Willcome, and the second book in the series titled An Empyrian Odyssey. Central characters Tamsin and Haven were separated in the previous volume, and Haven is now trapped in the beautifully atmospheric Ravine of Bones. Tamsin and Samih attempt a rescue, but it’s fraught with dangers in the marshland. Meanwhile, Emilia’s newfound freedom is short lived when her real identity comes to light, and the presumed-dead Lord Urbane hides himself away as he awaits yet more secrets to be revealed. On the wider scale of the world, these events are all part of the greater collapse of Empyria which is looming and threatening them all.

I really need to go back and read the first book after getting to review this excellent story! N.L. Willcome has created a lavish and deeply conceived fantasy world in the realm of Empyria. I adored all of the characters living their disparate yet intertwined lives, and the way that Willcome weaves them all together as the fate of Empyria hangs in the balance is truly masterful. The prose is fluid and without errors, the characters leap off the page with lush visual descriptions and lively dialogue, and the various gorgeous settings of the land set a high bar for atmosphere akin to Laini Taylor or Neil Gaiman. Overall, The Hour of Embers is a superb sequel in a series that’s not to be missed. Highly recommend to all fans of high fantasy.

K.J. Simmill

The night Captain Saveen became a lord there had been a shift in power, subtly changing Empyria. He had made strategic manoeuvres to isolate the city; all supplies passed through his men, ensuring he could control the people by controlling food, materials, and trade. Sending a trusted friend in her place, Tamsin provides the ruse she has left, allowing her to search for Haven, who was once believed dead. The discovery of her true heritage gives Tamsin unexpected options. If not for Haven, she would be dead. She knows he was not killed, but bartered for and taken to the Ravine of Bones. She owes him a debt, one she will move mountains to repay, and that starts with finding him - something she cannot do alone. The quest is under way, and she is by no means as alone as she expected, but so much stands in her way. Can she possibly hope to rescue him before the unthinkable befalls him?

N.L. Willcome's The Hour of Embers is the second book in An Empyrian Odyssey, and whilst I have not read the first book, I found it easy to pick up and read this as a stand-alone fantasy. Colorful and vivid characters propel this character-driven plot onwards through a fantastical, imaginative, and sometimes terrifying terrain. There is no shortage of strife, threat, and danger, and no shortage of hope gleamed by new allies and new information as the journey progresses. This well-developed, well-written tale will keep you on the edge of your seat as things turn slowly from bad to worse for Haven, and Tamsin tries desperately against the odds to find her way to him. There is so much depth to this plot—politics, control, exploitation, subterfuge—that you fear to blink in case you miss something important.

Rabia Tanveer

The Hour of Embers: Book Two of An Empyrian Odyssey by N.L. Willcome is such a fitting continuation of Tamsin and Haven’s story. When I first read The Dark Solstice, I was hooked by the connection between these two. To say that I was excited to read this book would be an understatement and N.L. Willcome did not disappoint at all. The connection and the chemistry between these two characters are still very powerful, yet they have developed beautifully to become the strongest characters I have read so far this year.

Tamsin and Haven are separated. Haven is captured and has very little time left to live. Tamsin knows that and she will do whatever it takes to save him. She accepts the help of Samih, a Watcher, and with him she is trying to rally help from people. But time is against them as neither Tamsin nor Haven is in any condition to stop the world from crumbling around them. All they can do is hold on to their faith in each other and love each other. However, unbeknownst to them, something far more powerful and dangerous is happening, something that neither of them can control. Can their love survive this distance and can they survive this bloody political unrest?

What can I say about this novel? The narrative was so riveting and smoothly written that it had me transported next to Tamsin and Haven. I felt every emotion they went through and I didn’t want to leave them. The pace of the novel is fast and the action kept me interested in the story until the very end. Reading this novel was like meeting old friends that I love and cherish. I enjoyed it so much that I read it once again immediately! It deserves 5 stars and more!