Path of the Heretic by Ivan Amberlake
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
After Emily Ethan is gone, Jason is left with too many questions unanswered. Betrayed by the one he loved and yet hurting after losing her, Jason is eager to find out what actually happened to Emily.
When he least expects it, the Darksighted return to New York City, but they are not after Jason. They seek to destroy those who may know something about where Emily can be.
The more Jason gets to know the world of Energy and Sight, the harder it is for him to belong in this world. He can’t enter the Sight when there are too many people around. And then Emily comes to his dreams and gives him clues of where to look for the answers.
The question is: should he believe her, or is it just another attempt to get him killed?
The novel, Path of the Heretic, begins a few months after book one, The Beholder. At this point, Jason, the main character, is dealing with a major loss, some unexplained limitations to his powers, the betrayal of a friend, as well as intensified attacks from the enemy. And more importantly, we get inside the head of Pariah. Bonus!
What I enjoyed the most about the novel were the following: 1) as in the first book, the pacing was good. There was rarely a dull moment, as the reader is exposed to the good and bad guys, the points of view of different characters, the developing conflict and the rising stakes, travel to various worldwide locations, and coolest of all, we get to witness how a dark one is recruited. Once again, there is rarely a dull moment. 2) I appreciated that this time, we got to see more of the baddies. We see much more of Pariah and his origins, more of his relationship with his minions, and learn Tyler’s history. Fleshing out the villains this way made them seem credible and more of a threat.
As in the first book, I struggled with some things: 1) I found certain details and description vague. For example, I found the flow of events during major fight scenes difficult to follow, and at times I couldn’t tell what was happening, where characters were, or how they got there. And, details about the structure/hierarchy of the Lightsighted was missing. In contrast, we have a very clear understanding of rank on the Darksighted side. And I wanted to know HOW the Lightsighted managed to fight of a major attack while sustaining the lives of a whole city for days on end. The concept was so cool that I wanted to be able to better envision the events. 2) Again, I found the rules about Energy unclear. At one point Jason says he isn’t the Beholder but everyone says he is. Why? And, the heretic wasn’t all that clear for me, as in why is he in hiding when he has the power to influence the course of events? Is he stronger than Jason, just as strong, less so? Is he limited somehow and therefore can’t participate in the conflict? Why is he called the heretic, anyway? For me, struggling with these points affected the story’s cohesion and comprehension.
That said, the ideas presented in the novel are still as interesting and creative as book 1, and Amberlake writes with an energy and zeal that is sure to attract readers. Clearly, he enjoys the story he is building as well as weaving his characters into each and every scenario. Readers of urban fantasy, speculative fiction, and those looking for something that has the feel of a comic book or graphic novel should enjoy this series very much.
Many thanks to Mr. Amberlake for providing me with a review copy of his novel.
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