Valor is a fantastic addition to what looks to become a favorite series of mine. The plot is well paced and interesting with fantastic world-building, and the characters develop so much throughout the book. Oh, and that ending was just fantastic! I eagerly look forward to the next installment.
Valor picks up right after the events in Malice in which are heroes are on the run after the fall of Dun Carreg. Meanwhile, Nathair is searching for the Cauldron and Rhin has many plans of her own.
I was pleased with the pacing of the book and felt like Gwynne spent time on the parts he needed to and not so much on the less important stuff. I enjoyed the character-chapter-POVs and thought they were the perfect length. There were also new character POVs and though I wasn’t sure I would enjoy that, I ended up liking it a lot.
‘Memory is a double-edged sword, Uthas. It can keep you strong through dark times, but it can also cripple you, keep you locked in a moment that no longer exists.”
I thought the book was just a bit more predictable than the last but there was enough that I didn’t know to still enjoy the story. I knew that somehow Nathair was going to get to the cauldron, though I didn’t know the means, and I figured our favorite characters would have to get away somehow or we wouldn’t have a story. Don’t get me wrong, though. I still enjoyed the book A LOT and there were still a TON of twists and turns, not to mention unexpected deaths.
This book explores so much more of the world that Gwynne created and I loved that. There are tons of different places the characters travel as they escape Dun Carreg, and I really enjoyed reading about the Vin Thalun and their way of living. It is a lot different than any of the other people we have come across so far.
The history of the world is also delved into a bit more and we even get to travel to the Otherworld and get a glimpse of some of its inhabitants.
Corban also gets to practice a bit of magic with the help of Brin and I hope this is explored more in future books.
I LOVE the characters of this story so much! I have such feelings for them! Corban, Gar, and Veradis are my favorite so far. I love how conflicted they are and how some may be on the side of evil without realizing it and are not evil themselves. Veradis has tons of conflicting emotions and seems to be having a hard time doing what is right, especially once he meets Cywen.
I also thought the manipulation of Nathair is being done so well. He is just utterly clueless as to what it going on around him. Actually, it is kind of frustrating that he just can’t figure it out.
I was glad that we get another completely bad ass female character to follow in this one. Coralen is actually Halion’s sister, which was neat. We get a glimpse of three siblings from one family and that made for a pretty interesting read.
Also, Fidele is the other female POV. I enjoyed her chapters a lot because we get a glimpse into the lives of the Vin Thalun and how they are attempting to take over her kingdom in the absence of her son, Nathair. Maquin also gives us information about the Vin Thalun and I enjoyed his chapters as well.
“Come then, Death, take me across your bridge of swords, but know this: I won’t be coming alone”
A POV chapter from one of the giants was also interesting. I liked getting a glimpse into their lifestyle and what they think of recent events and their plans for the future.
I also never thought I would like crows as characters but Fech and Craf are awesome!
I am eagerly looking forward to where the characters go from here, especially with an ending like that!
For the most part, the writing was great. Great dialogue, organization, etc. The only thing that I continually noticed (and I don’t notice these things very often) was the over-use of the word “undulating”. It was used all the time to describe a ton of different things and I kept noticing it more and more. However, this is a minor issue and I thought that the writing was fine otherwise.
The cover is gorgeous yet again. I love how it matches the first book, includes series and number, and has no blurbs on the front. Perfection!