Tuesday, 31 January 2017
In Stephen R. Burns' second installment of the Desolate Kingdom Series we once again are entered into a world one hundred years after the angels had brought the Storms that had almost eliminated all of humanity. Only one city remained, and it was located on the West coast. People in this city thought they were safe.
They were wrong. Instead, the angels came back and brutally killed a third of the city, while taking the other two thirds as slaves. Cale Edsen (Sendz) was a soldier who had survived, one of the only ones, but the horrors he had seen and what he had failed to do still haunted him. So for nine months he had turned to the bottle, living along the alleys of the Empty Gate, the worst part of the city, yet the only part that hadn't been taken by the angels. Cale thought this was it, that his life was over. But then he killed one of the creatures with his bare hands. Hands that were oddly stronger than they should have been and resembled the creature he had just killed.
But his story's not over yet. In City of Slaves, the angels know exactly who and what he is and they are coming for him.
This story takes place roughly nine months since the last book left off with many new characters. We were briefly introduced to Cale in the first novel, but this book is about his life and his world. We learn a lot about the angels, the city, and Cale himself. The brutalities that he had to endure and the life he has had to survive. We are also introduced to a very strong heroin, Naz, who proves that family isn't always what we are born into.
Burns writes with intensity and emotion that you are drawn into the book, right into action, from the first page. I enjoyed how the two main characters were so strong and substantial. Both his male lead and his female lead exhibited such endurance and modeled such power and firmness. All of Burns' characters have both masculine and feminine qualities that make them so endearing and equal.
The words Burns pens to paper depict so much more than a story. This story helps us to escape from the realities of life. No matter how bad our day is, or what we are facing, Cale's world is so much worse, and for a brief moment in time we are able to put our own worries aside. We find that our perspectives can change or be challenged and we can learn from their mistakes without having to make them ourselves. We find ourselves growing with the characters. A real life lesson I found taken away after reading is that family does not always mean blood relatives. Sometimes it's just the love and support we show each other that makes us family. We should never take those we love for granted. Unconditional love is just that, unconditional. How far would you go to save the ones you love?
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