by Rebecca Crunden  (Author), Meredith Anderson (Editor)

–>I received a free copy of this in exchange for an honest review.<–

->>Also, the very synopsis of this book is a huge spoiler for what comes before in previous books and there is no dancing around it so be careful if you are looking ahead in order.<<-

Switching to Thom’s point of view this time, we learn how he survived and made it to the Outlands at the end of book two…

We flashback in the beginning to the night Thom, Kitty, and Nate are figuring out what to do about being called in about their then-unknown disease. As Thom eventually leaves he is of course captured after a short investigation into things and asks for an audience with the King. Although Thom is granted his wish, Nate and Kitty are spared; he is sent to the Hangman for his fate to decided. After a long period of imprisonment, he finds himself sold into slavery, and a gladiator forced to fight to the death in the Red Arena…

So right off the bat I happily say book three ups the action scenes considerably and is filled with a lot of violence and gore. Thom is also given incredible development throughout this book so the characters and meaningful moments are still there too, it was a great balance of the two I found.

Muntenia, the place Thom finds himself stuck in, is a place where certain prisoners are sent to die away from the eyes of the Kingdom. A very awful place for all involved, even the citizens who find they have no options to make a living so they bet their entire life savings on fights at the arena and hope for the best, creating a very bleak scenario. The people forced into this situation have to win twenty times to be free and to make it worse if they are purchased again the count resets to zero…

With this being the first time in the story we are taken to this dreadful place, the author makes a lot of great scenes describing Muntenia and the way of life there. It was rather depressing, but excellent world-building.

As Thom doesn’t know how to fight himself, he always used manipulation and others to do that kind of thing for him in the kingdom, he luckily befriends Charles whom he trains every day with and becomes quite close. Outside of the fighting and surviving in this part of the book their relationship is the highlight and was done pretty well. In addition to Charles, Thom is part of a whole group of others that struggle together to survive this ordeal and it was all touching and rather sad at times.

As Thom fights and kills other innocent people to survive he develops post-traumatic stress disorder and dealing with his mental anguish caused in this time is a constant throughout the book. We know he escapes and gets to that place where Nate and Kitty found him battered and broken, but his journey to get there is filled with new friends and a lot of terrible experiences. With this section of the book so many old questions are answered and a lot of important missing details are filled in and so many story threads and characters are handled well.

In the Outlands at last Thom takes a long time to heal his many mental and physical wounds. He learns along with the reader many details about the Radiants and their way of life, and as I love the Outland scenes I really enjoyed this part of the book. Well I enjoyed the whole thing honestly, the things that irked me in books one and two were kept to a minimum, and with all the action nothing was slowing this book down.

In the end, with the three main characters and all their new friends finally reunited, we get one emotional scene after another as they debate and argue about their futures. Do they return to Cutta to take down the oppressive regime or forget it all and live in freedom?

5 out of 5 stars

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“History is truth. Truth is freedom. Freedom is life”


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