4 out of 4 stars
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The second installment of Arkahalla’s Trilogy by Arahom Radjah and Abraham Kawa continues the story of Ur after the death of the great vampire queen, Arkhalla. Aptly named,The World Without Arkhalla describes how the major characters in the first book deal with her death ten years later. Bel struggles to lead Ur as he is still plagued with guilt, Shamath is tortured by the loss of his true love, and Narama is heartbroken by Bel’s blinding obsession with Arkhalla even after her death. However, the cities are in disarray, the royal council is divided, humans have started to rebel against the vampire factions, and the ever cunning Sin plans to overthrow Bel and take Arkhalla’s throne by whatever means necessary even if it means risking an alliance with the human Akkadian king. War takes center-stage, but despite the gnashing of swords, betrayal, and trickery, rays of friendship, love, and justice begin to blossom.
After reading the first book in this series, I really became attached to the characters so I was excited to read the second part of the story. Whereas the first book had a concrete storyline regarding Arkhalla and Shamath, I was slightly disappointed that this one focused mostly on wars. However, it is rare to find the subjects of war and politics described so intricately and eloquently as they were in this book. This was what I enjoyed the most. My mind grew pleasurably dizzy with the multitude of war strategies, one of which involved the surprising element of quicksand. The realistic descriptions of combat also made me feel as if I were right there, fighting alongside the same army I was rooting for.
Another admirable thing about this book was its excellent characterization. I liked that the characters evolved through their experiences from the previous book. This provided many unexpected twists that left me astonished such as when Bel, a normally brave and respectable warrior, resorted to trickery to accomplish a horrible feat before fleeing like a coward in the midst of a battle. Shamath’s natural leadership qualities finally bloomed and I relished his newfound strength, purpose, and intelligence. On some occasions, I even found myself empathizing or admiring the villains, especially Sin, who was incredibly diplomatic but also sly as a fox.
Although I had some qualms at first because this book seemed like a brief interlude to the full story rather than a continuation, I still enjoyed reading about the war strategies and getting to know the characters more. I also appreciated that the novel contained only a few minor errors. I am awarding it 4 out of 4 stars for its excellent characterization, its intriguing descriptions of war, and its professional editing.
Readers who enjoy books about medieval wars, vampires, and gore will love this trilogy. It also has a resemblance to the Game of Thrones TV series in terms of its medieval setting, war tactics, and characters so fans of this show may enjoy reading it. However, The World Without Arkhalla is the second book in the trilogy and I would only recommend it to readers who have already read the first book because it cannot be read as a standalone.
The World Without Arkhalla
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