Book Review – ‘The Thousand Eyes’ by A.K. Larkwood

TITLE: The Thousand Eyes
AUTHOR: A.K. Larkwood
GENRE: Fantasy, LGBT+
WORD/PAGE COUNT: 385 pages (hardcover)
PUBLICATION DETAILS: by Macmillan Publishers on February 15th, 2022
RRP$39.99 AUD (paperback)

Blurb from Goodreads:

The sequel to A. K. Larkwood’s stunning debut fantasy, The Unspoken NameThe Thousand Eyes continues The Serpent Gates series–perfect for fans of Jenn Lyons, Joe Abercrombie, and Ursula K. Le Guin.

Two years ago, Csorwe and Shuthmili defied the wizard Belthandros Sethennai and stole his gauntlets. The gauntlets have made Shuthmili extraordinarily powerful, but they’re beginning to take a sinister toll on her. She and Csorwe travel to a distant world to discover how to use the gauntlets safely, but when an old enemy arrives on the scene, Shuthmili finds herself torn between clinging to her humanity and embracing eldritch power.

Meanwhile, Tal Charossa returns to Tlaanthothe to find that Sethennai has gone missing. As well as being a wizard of unimaginable power, Sethennai is Tal’s old boss and former lover, and Tal wants nothing to do with him. When a magical catastrophe befalls the city, Tal tries to run rather than face his past, but soon learns that something even worse may lurk in the future. Throughout the worlds of the Echo Maze, fragments of an undead goddess begin to awaken, and not all confrontations can be put off forever…

The Unspoken Name was a delightfully mesmerising 2020 debut that combined epic fantasy and space opera to offer an outstanding and original tale focused on an Orc priestess-turned-mercenary who is taken under the wing of a powerful sorcerer. It’s a densely packed tome of action-adventure, complex mythology and murky politics with ever-shifting dynamics as characters alternately ally with and betray one another. You won’t be able to pick up The Thousand Eyes without having read the first book!

While you might benefit from a re-read before delving into the sequel, I didn’t find it a hindrance to jump in unprepared—these beloved characters basically walk off the page with the familiarity of old friends and you’ll find yourself effortlessly sinking back into the lives of Csorwe, Shuthmili and Tal like the last two years passed in a mere instant. It really is an absolute joy to start the story off with the trio living together in peace and harmony—well, Csorwe and Shuthmili are sappily blissful together, but Csorwe and Tal get on best when they’re bickering and getting on each other’s nerves, which provides no end of entertainment. Of course this can’t last forever and after we’re caught up with the status quo, it’s not long before they’re getting into trouble and way in over their heads once more.

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