My Rating: 4/5
Author: Frances Pauli
Title: Horded (Kingdoms Gone) (Volume 2)
“Maera lives as an outcast by choice. Guilt-ridden over her past, she hopes only for the punishment she deserves. But when a gobelin warrior steps out of thin air to claim her, Maera is torn between the debt she owes her people, and the selfish yearnings of her own heart.
Tal is the lowest gobelin, the cursed brother of the horde’s greatest warrior. When he stumbles onto a legendary castle, however, he believes his luck is about to change. But the horde’s enemies have found the thing as well, and Tal’s brother breaks gobelin law to chase a human who is more trouble than she’s worth.
Now Tal and Maera are the only ones who can save his brother, the one person they both love and the only thing they can agree on. If they fail, the horde will never believe them, and the castle of prophecy will fall into enemy hands. If they succeed, they’ll have to stand together against the full fury of the gobelin horde…”
Horded is the second book in the Kingdoms Gone series. I have read the first book, Unlikely, but I think most readers should be okay reading this one with reading the first. The book takes place five years later and follows Maera (from the first book – a side character). There are a few references that might not be as clear to someone who has not read the first. However, you shouldn’t be completely lost by it.
[If you plan on reading the first book, you might stumble upon some spoilers below. For review of Unlikely, click here]
The book is written in third person following Maera and Tal. Maera is a human that was last seen in the first book, Unlikely. She has left Westwood behind and now resides in Ramstown. Maera has feelings of guilt and repentance at the beginning of the book (and throughout.) She is just starting to find her place in a town that ignores and scrawls at her. With only one friend, she starts to consider her future. Suddenly, she is thrown into the world of gobelins when one stumbles upon her call her “tir talus.” Tal is a gobelin who is down on his luck, always outshined by his brother, Torg. During a hunt, he finds himself at a castle with a guardian (a gargoyle) who bows to him. He considers the prophecy but is attacked by another band of gobelins before he can do anything else. Maera, Tal, and Torg enter in an adventure between understanding their place in the world and overcoming feelings of inadequacy. The characters were well written. I did wonder what happened to some of the characters at the beginning in Ramstown when the book ended. It is possible that this will be picked up in the third book.
The plot was quick and easy to read. The meaning of tir talus is not explained right away or the prophecy. You’ll just have to have patience. The book (like the first) did not dive into the Final War or terms such as Shades, but they were not central to the plot. The switching of characters’ viewpoints only minimally overlapped in some places – basically summarizing their view of things in the last few minutes before the narrative switch. The story kept me interested, and I think I enjoyed the workings of this plot better than the first.
The Bottom Line:
Overall I enjoyed this book and will wait to see what happens in book 3. If you like fantasy and adventure (with gobelins, witches, imps, and gargoyles) you might like this book.