The Obsidian Tower by Melissa Caruso is an epic high fantasy that takes place in the same world as her Swords and Fire series. Nevertheless, this is not a series that requires the reader to be familiar with her previous series.
Caruso is excellent with her world-building. There is just enough history and detail to give the reader an idea of this world without distracting from the plot. The reader understands the tenuous relationships between these characters and their kingdoms.
The history of this novel includes the Dark Days and the Nine Demons, which is something unexpected and unique. While demons are not unusual to fantasy novels the idea that there are precisely nine is noteworthy. They are so similar to the seven deadly sins, but the way Caruso gives them personality and brings them to life was brilliant.
Then there is the way they exist. Caruso introduces this idea of them being tied to magic-making their addition to the plot more engaging, it offers the reader something interesting and creates a whole lot of interesting tension within the novel, guiding the plot along.
And the hierarchy of Witch Lords, those in possession of magic, is appealing. While the idea of holding those with magic as the aristocracy is not unique, the idea within this novel sets up excellent tension. Ryx has magic but it is broken and keeps her from being accepted among her kind. Most breathe life into things all around them, but Ryx’s magic, broken by a near-death illness, leaves death in its wake. However, her magic is something else entirely, something powerful, that slowly develops throughout the novel.
A Shining Relatable Protagonist
While her magic is broken, different, it allows Ryx to be vibrant.
Ryx is such a compelling protagonist. Ryx has always felt alone with her power, keeping up this barrier between her and others, keeping her from living. There is so much inner turmoil she has to overcome while she also deals with political and magical upheaval. While that is all great, what makes Ryx shine is her personality. She is a fierce character and Caruso brings her to life so well that the reader can perfectly imagine every sigh, eye-roll, and face-palm event that makes her want to pull her hair out. That kind of writing entrances the reader and makes Ryx believable and relatable.
Alongside her fellow characters like the Rookery and Severin, Ryx has to ride to the challenges she is faced with. Even though they are side characters, they come to life wonderfully with vibrant voices. Caruso has a diverse cast that all balance one another perfectly.
Overall, The Obsidian Tower is a great introduction to a new series. There is a great diverse cast of characters, all of whom are unpredictable that, alongside the plot, keep the reader engaged until the very end.
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|Pub Date: June 2, 2020||Page Count: 528pp||Age Range: 13 & Over|
|ISBN: 978-0-3164-2509-4||Publisher: Orbit||List Price: $16.99|