Fire returned in a blaze of war and destruction.
What will Water bring to the one who finds her?
A slave dreams of freedom for all.
An aristocratic soldier yearns for power.
A sculptress covets revenge.
But the painter she loves urges her to use her Talent for peace.
When those aims collide, new friends join in the desperate race through foreign lands and ancient ruins to uncover knowledge of the mysterious Damoz. What do they want? Can they be stopped?
Blood of the Water (Arts Reborn: Book II) continues the journey of Simon, Elysia and Persei that began in Brush With Darkness.
The ARTS REBORN series follows the return of opposing forces of artistic creation and elemental destruction to the Republic of Pazh, a world where echoes of ancient Greece and Rome mix with the fantastical.
This was a re-read, so I knew what I was getting into. Since I knew I’d enjoyed it the first time through, I really was looking forward to discovering some extra depth, and hidden layers to the story this time around.
Even though this is a second installment to the story, Mr. Maltman takes us to new places, through new cultures, and an entirely new political structure. The cast remains the same, so there’s no need to completely rebuild the magic system in the installment, just refine it and add some depth to what he’s already developed.
Once again, this has a very immersive experience with the new surroundings given a quick sketch, then developed layer by layer as the story plays out. Blood of the Water has quite a bit of interesting, and unexpected developments in the world, which provide a lighter tone to the overall feel of the story.
There are a few new characters introduced in this installment, enlarging the main cast from two to four. The newcomers are as carefully developed as the familiar faces without sacrificing additional development and growth for the original cast. The nice thing is that everyone learns from each other, along with the experiences they have along the way giving the overall development a chance to keep pace with what’s going on around them.
They both continue to grow and develop as people, with all that entails. The many, many wrong choices that are countered by just a few simple great choices. Elysia burns for revenge, and while Simon does not stop her, he also does he best to keep that desire from consuming her. Along the way, new friends are encountered, all of whom have their own facet of the Talent to create. What these people will do with their talent is still up in the air, but the potential for what the Talent CAN do is explored in more depth as this book winds to an unexpected ending.
One minor quibble, similar to what I had with Brush with Darkness is that there is a slight jar when the last female lead is introduced. Yes, she’s a natural (as are the others), yet she appears in the story without training and able keep up with those who have had such training. It’s not enough to break the flow of the story, but is enough to cause me to quirk and eyebrow and wonder “How?” and “Why her?”
The pacing in this installment was spot on. Nothing felt rushed, and nothing felt like it lagged. There was a natural ebb and flow to the action, each piece carefully woven through the rest so that the immersion in the story was seamless. (Barring the above mentioned developmental quibble.)
I give this a very enthusiastic 5 of 5 paws from the pukah! Enjoyable, expansive, and only a few tendrils left loose for the reader to be curious about what comes next. Looking forward to the next installment!
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