Blackflame by Will Wight
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Eithan has offered Lindon all he could want. A powerful family and instruction from a master. Eithan unfortunately also left Lindon in a predicament. In one year's time, he has to fight the Highgold Jai Long. Lindon is prepared to do anything to get strong enough to win, he just may not realize what that means. Eithan once again has dangerous plans for Lindon and he's made sure to include Yerin as well.
Blackflame was a strong sequel. The scene shifts to the home of the Arelius Family, Serpent's Grave. The Serpent's Grave is also the home of The Jai Clan and they have declared a silent war on the Arelius family. Eithan has plans on plans, but the threat of the Jai underlord looms over everything. Eithan is continuing his training of Yerin and Lindon in attempts to maximize their potential. He just has no interest in doing things in a traditional way. As Eithan said in Soulsmith, "Nothing reaches its full potential unless it's threatened." It's a motto he fully adheres to. Lindon will either grow stronger or die under Eithan's tutelage.
Meanwhile Jai Long has his prize, the spear of the ancestors. He intends to use it's power to get stronger and get his revenge. With the help of the Sandvipers and their Truegold leader Gokren, he plans to start his plans for revenge with the clan who discarded he and his sister Jai Chen. Jai Long is a well written character. His motivations are clear and he's ruthless.
One especially enjoyable part of Blackflame was the study of techniques. More are put on display than ever before as Lindon tries to decide what path to follow with his second core. He's restricted because he needs something strong enough to defeat an opponent that will be undoubtedly stronger than him in a year's time. That leads to some unforeseen developments.
The characters were excellent once more. Yerin struggles with her advancement, Eithan's instruction, and trusting Eithan in general. Lindon is desperate to get strong enough to survive his upcoming duel with Jai Long. Eithan is well Eithan, in the best ways possible. He's equal parts flashy and calculating.
The book featured two especially interesting additions, Cassias Arelius and Orthos. Cassias was the former heir of the Arelius family before Eithan arrived 6 years ago. His personality is the opposite of Eithan's in every way and he disagrees with most of Eithan's choices. He also shares the amazing Arelius bloodline awareness ability. Orthos is the descendant of dragons and a majestic turtle indeed. He has the power of blackflame, but he's losing his mind due to it's power. Orthos is haughty, powerful, and hungry. He's often heard munching on anything he wants including stone.
Blackflame was a really enjoyable story and I can't wait to begin the next book in the series.
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