Plague Arcanist by Shami Stovall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Volke Savan finds himself in a place no arcanist would ever choose to be in, infected by the Arcane Plague. Volke has months before the plague changes him into someone unrecognizable and Luthair is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to avoid losing another Arcanist. There is one hope, Theasin Venrover. Theasin bragged that he will cure the plague, but it's not clear where he headed after Thronehold. Volke is forced to leave the Frith Guild on his quest. He is joined by Theasin's son Adelgis, the former pirate Fain, the Doppelganger Arcanist Karna, and the crew of the Sun Chaser. Together they seek Theasin for his cure, before Volke is driven mad.
Plague Arcanist had me hooked. From the moment Volke was infected by the Arcane Plague, I've been desperate to see him recover. The journey to Theasin is long and winding.
Witnessing Volke's character time and time again is one of the strongest parts of the book and series. Volke is a young man who should hate people and only think of himself because of the way the world treated him. Instead he wants to defend the same people who couldn't be bothered with his presence. I appreciate how Karna can't seem to get past Volke's genuine kindness and willingness to help others over himself. It's what draws her to him and makes her want to understand him.
I also appreciated the new characters and the development of the existing ones. Volke's influence has a strong impact on Adelgis, Fain, and Karna primarily. Adelgis is left changed by the near death experience of the Abyssal Leech, but his loyalty to Volke is clear. He's also a bit unnerving with the development of his powers. Fain has gone under quite the transformation. It was only two books ago where he wanted to kill Luthair, but now he stands with Luthair and Volke in their time of need. Karna is quite interesting as she delves to learn more and more about people and their nature. Her favorite subject being Volke.
Plague Arcanist is filled with unexpected twists and turns. I was hooked before I even picked up the book. The last few chapters were truly emotional and excellent. This is my favorite book in the series thus far.
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