Following the events of the first instalment of “The Waking Land” series, the sequel, titled “Memory of Fire” follows the subsequent consequences and remaining tremors from the war in Eren, our protagonist – Jahan Korakides – leaves Eren, and the woman he loves, to negotiate with an emperor threatening war in retribution for Elanna’s “illegal” sorcery.
“Memory of Fire” follows Jahan, who sees himself as a failed sorcerer, who is haunted by memories – and mental callings – of a sorceress who experimented on him and his siblings as children to “create the perfect sorcerer”.
Despite having saved both Eren, and Prince Leontius in a battle prior to the war in the first novel, Jahan faces several changes in the city he once called home – Revolution is the illegal talk of the day, while a mistrusting monarch threatens to seek and kill sorcerers.
While changing the reader’s perspective through those of a different protagonist in the second, and following, novels in a series is a gamble in itself – some authors simply cannot pull it off, I find that learning about Jahan’s character background and experiences that helped shaped him altered my already existing perception that Jahan is not... well, the best or most reliable of persons.
With magic outlawed and punishable by death in Paladis, Jahan continues to keep his powers a secret – even from those he cares most about – as he is forced to return to the court where he is without favour or protection.
Political games are rife in his return, and Jahan must relearn how to navigate these while confronting his past and the painful memories of what happened to his family.
While he does get reunited with his siblings (or does he, really?), Jahan is faced with the immense task of heading a revolution in his old country, while trying to keep sane in the midst of ominous mental messages from his old mentor.
“Memory of Fire” is darker in tone compared to its predecessor, and shows us that the series is maturing into something that could potentially, become far greater than the magic of the land.
While some reviews did not approve of the change of point-of-view in the second novel, I must admit – I liked it.
The world building, which I believe needed the different perspective, continues to be that which to be inspired by, while reminding the reader that as long as the memory of something is there, it can never truly be gone. (If you have read it, do you remember that candle and fire reference throughout the novel?).
Seeing the main character use the phrase that titles their own story is a lovely little easter egg too!
The third (and potentially final) instalment in the series, The Soul of Power, scheduled for publication in 2019 – and will be told out of [Queen] Sophy’s perspective.
After all, going on how the novel ended, can we really say that we know all there is about our Queen?
Based on the gamble Callie Bates took in changing the main protagonist, and the continued stable world building, I’d give “Memory of Fire” 4.5 out of 5 stars.
The land has awoken, and news of magic's rebirth has travelled across the sea. Jahan, a daring noble who has been concealing his powers, is finally ready to stop hiding. Now he returns to the imperial capital, where the use of magic carries a death sentence. There, he must face his dark past, learn to embrace his gifts, and prevent an all-out war across the kingdoms.