This review contains spoilers for the previous book in this series.
Mortals and Deities is the second book in the Genesis of Oblivion Saga by Maxwell Alexander Drake, and is the sequel to Farmers and Mercenaries, which was reviewed here. The sequel starts off right where Farmers and Mercenaries left us.
A multitude of viewpoints
Alant Cor finds himself near his old home with no clue of how he got there. His eyes glow red, and he doesn’t know what being thrust into the Essence Node by the Elmorians did to him. He only knows that he is the Mah’Sukai—a being of unimaginable power—and has no idea of where to find the answers to his many questions. When Alant encounters a woman who claims that he can find those answers in an ancient lost city, and after many failed attempts at gathering information from people he thought might have the answers, he clings to the only bit of hope he has left and follows her instructions.
Arderi Cor, Alant’s brother, is sent to the ancient citadel of Bin’Satsu to learn how to become a Tat’Sujen—a group of humans with enhanced abilities to manipulate the world around them. He is given the order to kill the new Mah’Sukai at any costs before the evil being has the chance to wreak havoc on the world. Assuming that the Mah’Sukai must be someone truly evil, Arderi accepts the order without question.
Elith was raised among priests her entire life to be the perfect assassin—deadly, silent, and devoid of emotion. The only purpose given to her in life has been to find the Mah’Sukai and bring him to the head of the priesthood, known simply as the Revered Father. Elith is not the cold-blooded killer she was trained to be, however, and the feelings of sadness and guilt she experiences makes her question everything she knows. Complicated by her feelings of remorse and plagued by sudden bouts of unexplained memory loss, she sets upon her journey to find and capture the Mah’Sukai.
Klain is living with his employer, Rohann, as a bodyguard for Rohann’s son, Charver. When Rohann becomes fanatical about a sudden journey to a long-lost city filled with unimaginable treasure, Klain begins to worry. Ever dutiful, Klain does as he is bidden, and follows Rohann and Charver on the expedition despite his fears for the sanity of his employer.
In Elmoreth, Sarshia, Princess to the Elmorian people, uncovers a plot concerning the human Initiates of their school. When she finds that her brother is the mastermind of this sinister plot, she has no idea how she will proceed with this new-found knowledge.
Characters that grew on me
In the first novel, I had a problem relating to the characters. They were all interesting, but I never felt emotionally invested. This time around, my feelings have changed. The feeling of shock and disbelief when a character does something unspeakable, those “I seriously can’t believe that just happened!” moments, were there for me in this installment. I cared about the characters, and they are developing well in the Genesis of Oblivion series.
A rushed plot
The first novel, Farmers and Mercenaries, did not feel rushed. In fact, I liked it because it flowed so naturally, instead of having all of the characters do silly things that they normally wouldn’t do just to make the plot more interesting. Unfortunately for the reader, that’s exactly what this book did. There were a few cheap thrills that didn’t really serve any sort of purpose at all—they were just little encounters that one might expect to find in a D&D campaign. “Seven insect-like creatures attack your camp, what do you do?”—and then never spare them a thought again. These devices were inserted to make the plot a bit more interesting, but only served to cheapen it.
Redundant alternating viewpoints
A majority of the characters in this novel meet up together trying to explore this lost city where all their answers lie. As mentioned, this novel is told with alternating viewpoints, which normally works very well when they’re separate, and perhaps briefly while they’re together. After a while, though, it becomes redundant, especially near the end of the book. I had the exact same scene laid out for me by four different characters, using almost the exact same language. After the second character, I was like, “Yep, already heard this. Let’s move on.” And the third: “… yes, I’m aware of your surroundings. I don’t need to hear about it.” And the fourth: “You’re in a cave, alright? There’s this glowing blue chick in an egg. That’s all you need to know.” It gets pretty tiring, especially because the way things are described is too similar, and nothing new or interesting is added with the new viewpoints.
A fantastic conclusion
The way that this novel ends blew me away. It confirmed the suspicions that I had early on in the novel, yet the reveal isn’t blatantly obvious—and there are quite a few things that shocked me. I became emotionally invested in the characters and cared about their actions. A certain pivotal scene for a character made me gasp and quickly re-read to make sure what I saw was true, thinking, “What the hell just happened?” But it happened, and the character acted accordingly in a feat of seamless storytelling. The ending is set up perfectly to flow right into the third installment.
A great installment in the series
Mortals and Deities further explores the world that was revealed to us in Farmers and Mercenaries. We see more of the inner workings of the Elmorians, a fantastic alien-like race of people who are like gods in their ability to manipulate the Essence when compared to mere humans. More cultures are explored, new characters added, and it’s a spectacular read overall.
Why should you read this book?
This is a magnificent addition to the Genesis of Oblivion series, and one that begs for additional sequels. The richly developed world leaves me wanting more, just as the first novel did. I can’t wait to return to Talic’Nauth! I hope that Drake will explain the events that took place in the conclusion of Mortals and Deities and dive right into the new challenges that the characters face in the third novel. Overall, this was an incredible, captivating read.
James received a review copy of this book courtesy of Imagined Interprises.