The Second Endgame

Order's Last Play, #3

Young Adult - Sci-Fi
375 Pages
Reviewed on 12/29/2023
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

E. Ardell spent her childhood in Houston, Texas, obsessed with anything science fiction, fantastic, paranormal or just plain weird. She loves to write stories that feature young people with extraordinary talents thrown into strange and dangerous situations. She took her obsession to the next level, earning a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Southern Maine where she specialized in young adult genre fiction. She’s a big kid at heart and loves her job as a teen services librarian. When she’s not working, she’s reading, writing, running writers critique groups, trying to keep up with a blog, and even writing fan fiction as her guilty pleasure. Her first YA science fiction novel, The Fourth Piece, was released by 48fourteen Publishing in July of 2016. The Fourth Piece went on to win the bronze medal for YA Science Fiction in The Readers’ Favorite Book Awards 2017, Most Promising Series in the Red City Review Book Awards 2017, and to be a finalist for the 2017 RONE Awards for YA Science Fiction/Paranormal.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Second Endgame is a work of fiction penned by author E. Ardell in the science fiction, action, adventure, and interpersonal drama subgenres. It is intended for young adult readers but can also be enjoyed by adult audiences. In this gripping third part of The Fourth Piece book series, the Lauduethe brothers - Devon, Lyle, Evan, and Lawrence - find themselves entangled in an intergalactic war with gods, cosmic stakes, and moral dilemmas. Trust is shattered, alliances shift, and the brothers are forced to play roles assigned by a cosmic order.

Author E. Ardell has crafted an immersive and highly atmospheric journey into a richly crafted universe. The complexity of the characters and their evolving relationships kept me engaged, and I felt that they were well balanced for the YA audience to be in-depth but not overwhelmingly adult. The moral quandaries faced by each brother added layers to the narrative, making it more than just a cosmic battle, but an emotional tapestry of connected arcs. Devon's internal struggle, Lyle's descent into desperation, Lawrence's quest for vision, and Evan's key role in the war provide a multifaceted exploration of identity and sacrifice. Ardell's storytelling prowess shines in the seamless interweaving of action, emotion, and philosophical questions, offering a fast-paced plot that also has moments of poignant clarity. The cosmic chessboard of gods and mortals adds a layer of unpredictability, and the stakes escalate as the brothers confront impossible choices. This intricate plot, combined with well-developed characters and a great sense of pacing, creates a satisfying and intellectually stimulating read that will stay with you long after you set it down. Overall, I would not hesitate to recommend The Second Endgame and the rest of the series to science fiction and action fans everywhere.

Stephanie Chapman

E. Ardell's The Second Endgame features four brothers with special abilities and stones that are "gifts" from the goddess, Order. The war against Pandemonium has caused several losses for the brothers. Maiden Nialiah leads Lyle into a meeting where he learns that his twin, Devon, is "lost in action." He makes a deal with Order to plant a seed in Evan, his brother with fire abilities, in exchange for finding Devon. Lyle uses his psychic ability to place a stone in Evan's life tree. Meanwhile, Lawrie has traveled to Bruhje. His uncle Aeric and best friend, Chasyn, take him to a clinic to see if his eyesight can be restored. The Bruhje healer claims they can restore his eyesight; however, he could lose all his other senses. Devon, accompanied by two close friends, is a prisoner of Pandemonium, but the deity offers them a deal. Can they rely on the wild deity to free them?

E. Ardell gives exceptional detail in the physical attributes of the characters. Evan was one of my favorite characters, with his loyal and playful nature. I didn’t understand why he kept refusing Maiden Imari’s obvious advances, especially since he liked spending time with her. Devon’s work to help the people affected by the war was admirable. The vivid detail of how he looked and smelled made it easy to envision his appearance. I felt suspicious of Nialiah when Lyle spent all his time with her despite having a girlfriend. The two warring gods caused the suspense to build in intensity. The action scenes were perfect. The emotions of the characters give a realistic view of the war. The transitions between the brothers were easy to follow and provided a timeline of events. The cliffhanger ending left me eager to read more. Despite not being the first book in the series, I felt The Second Endgame could easily be a standalone book. This will appeal to readers who enjoy science fiction, fantasy, and slow-burn romance stories.

Rabia Tanveer

The Second Endgame is the third book in the Order’s Last Play series by E. Ardell. The journey of brothers Lyle, Devon, Lawrence, and Evan continues as they face their biggest challenge yet. While Devon was a prisoner of war, Lyle, Evan, and Lawrence had to face their demons. Devon was working hard to find a way back to his brothers, but it wasn’t that easy. Before he knew it, Devon had to make decisions that went against everything he believed in but were necessary to protect his loved ones. Lyle, on the other hand, was slowly losing his mind and was desperate enough to do something incredibly stupid to get Devon back. Things also weren’t going well for Lawrence and Evan. Lawrance was looking for a cure for his blindness, whereas Evan was at the center of the war with a single goal in mind. If he succeeded, he and his brothers would be free forever, but the price could be Evan’s death. What will the brothers do?

This book was fascinating, to say the least. The Second Endgame was perfection in every way. The descriptions were powerful enough to transport me right next to the characters as they faced one challenge after the other. I felt bad for Devon. He was in a tough spot, but I thought he handled the situation well. Lyle’s journey was terrifying. I was shocked at what he did in his desperation and was hoping for a solution that would make things easier for him. Lawrence took a big risk in the hopes of it all paying off, but I could understand his desperation and his willingness to find a solution. However, it was Evan who stole the show for me. Evan was smart and understood how to find solutions for the brothers' troubles. The narrative was excellent, and the execution of the world-building was phenomenal. Author E. Ardell weaved magic with words and made the characters come to life. I loved the attention to detail and the sheer genius of the story. The execution of the suspense, adventure, and action elements was perfect. I highly, highly recommend this series.