The path will be forged in sweat and blood.
Rune, Grey, the shape-shifter Beltran, and willful vampire, Verida, set out to rescue their friend and mentor, Tate, from the gladiator games. But first they must navigate the perils of Eon and its warring factions. Each of this band of four carries with them a secret that threatens to tear their group apart from within. Rune now bears the mark of the promise she made to save Grey’s life-a nixie bubble lodged in her arm that could call her away to do their bidding or spell her death.
Even as their loyalty to their cause and to one another faces its greatest test, Rune’s twin brother Ryker is forging an alliance with their mortal enemy, the powerful sorceress Zio, who has plans of her own for the Venators and Eon. Hearts will be bared, secrets unveiled, and relationships made and destroyed in this stunning new installment of the Venators series.
I don’t know how but these books just keep getting better and better! Please beware that there will be spoilers for books 1 & 2 in this review!
Rune and Grey have made it out of Feena’s realm relatively unharmed, but they know that have to come up with a plan to get Tate back from his fate as a Gladiator. Along with Verida and Beltran they set off on a council sanctioned mission to bring in the rogue wolf pact their first failed mission let loose, but they have other plans. They are intending to enter the underground and break Tate out, hopefully before the council realise he has been captured. Unfortunately, not everyone on the council is on the same page, they all have their own ulterior motives, and with the secrets being kept between the rescue squad themselves, Rune and Grey will have to fight with everything they have if they are to make it out of this mission alive.
One of the major selling points of this series for me is that is isn’t a limited amount of books. With duologies and trilogies you are limited to the amount of characters growth, the amount of side characters you can have, and how much page time you can give them. But with this series, although Rune and Grey are the MC’s we read the book from multiple perspectives, getting insights into their pasts, what brought them to where they are now, and what might be motivating them for future pursuits. Walls gives us an insane amount of depth to her characters and you can’t help but bond with them all in some way.
Rune and Grey are still growing into being Venators. Their humanity still wins out most of the time, and Beltran and Verida are just realising this might not be a bad thing. One thing I love about them is Walls has took the typical gender roles and turned them on their heads. Grey is the caring one, the one whose humanity seeps through, who has no trouble winning people over, the softer one of the two. Whereas Rune is the schemer, the one who has a great game face when the need arises, the one who will take whatever help they are given, play the political roll, see the bigger game. Their differences are what make them the perfect partnership, each others weaknesses being weighed out by the others strengths.
We also get treated to a lot more Beltran and Verida in this book. Not just following them on their journey with Rune and Grey, but we also learn some of their secrets, some they wish wound remain hidden. We learn why they both tend to keep people at arms length, why Beltran uses his wit and charm to avoid the hard questions and Verida threatens people until they stop asking. We also get a much bigger insight into why their friendship failed. These two are fast becoming favourites of mine, and I’m so glad that Well’s gives us the chance to truly bond with them as characters. Ryker is still a character I’m 50/50 on. It’s clear he is being emotionally blackmailed by Zio, even if he doesn’t realise it, the trauma of seeing the creatures as a child, and his hatred of Grey are overpowering even his love for his sister. I do hope he can be redeemed, if only for Runes sake, but I can see his ending not being a happy one.
With each book Walls manages to introduce us to a whole new side of Eon. We get treated to new species, new magic and learn a little more about the resistance we’ve only heard whispers of from book one. Her descriptive writing is top notch and it’s easy to get swept away to the parallel world. Easy to imagine it exists and it simply a portal ride away. I did enjoy seeing Grey and Rune bring up some ‘Earth’ terms and jokes that went over the others head. You can see them longing for home, but also growing more and more at ease in this new world that is just starting to accept them.
We get treated to a little more romance in this book than the other two and I am here for it! Rune and Beltran’s minor flirting in book two has now become fully fledged and it’s so sweet seeing the two of them fumble over their feelings, neither really willing to admit that they like the other but for completely different reasons. We see a little more of Beltrans fragility coming through and I really enjoyed seeing Rune slowly but surely breaking down his walls.
Fun, fast-paced and filled with some truly shocking twists and turns. I find myself enjoying each book in the series more than it’s predecessor and this was no different. This is fast becoming a favourite series of mine and I am ever grateful for Dave and Devri bringing us the blog tours every year.