Book Review: Mordraud, Book Two

262545801Author: Fabio Scalini

Published: July 3rd 2015 by Rampart (First published June 8th 2015)

Mordraud, surviving the war between Eld and Cambria and also between his brother and him, a battle to the death, finds himself unsure of what to do next. Free from hatred, he is now empty and goes on an adventure to see the world around him. Drawn to the sea, he joins a fisherman friend, Creel on a tuna fishing expedition amidst the raging waters. Mordraud got himself washed off the ship and was then fished out unexpectedly and sold as a slave to the assistant of a wealthy merchant in Syl, Sevian.

Dunwich also survives the war and the seemingly fatal blow dealt to him by Mordraud. Saved by the soldiers under him, he managed to get away from the battlefield. Taking on a new identity, he enters Syl to look for Iramir, another rich and powerful merchant, to convince him that he is his relative. Dunwich tries to erase his past and to begin life anew living under Iramir’s roof. But Iramir intends to use his abilities as a Lance to his advantage.

Gwern, separated from both of his brothers, has a monster inside of him, the Nightmare. Unwittingly, he almost killed his teacher, Saiden, as he became too curious about the unusual Flux found in Gwern’s body. Terrified, Gwern finds himself in the middle of nowhere and goes on a journey to discover the whereabouts of Mordraud, unwilling to accept the rumours that he is dead. He bumped into another half Khartian and half Aelian, Ilian, who seems to be happy to aid him in his search.

With a legend behind both Mordraud’s and Gwern’s name, Gwern learns about his destiny and what Mordraud was fated to do as all Mordrauds before him. But the only thing that is different this time is that Gwern and Mordraud are bound together by the bonds of brotherhood. As each brother discovers about the Limit, which inevitably draws them to Syl, a more complex web is being weaved around them and the people they know. The question is, who is at the centre of the web and what is his purpose?

If reading Mordraud Book One was exciting, the second book was even more captivating. Plans were created and layered one upon the other to the point that I simply couldn’t work out who was friend and who was foe. Who would have known that so many things could take place in just a few places?

Truthfully, I am very glad that all three brothers are alive and well, I was hoping that Mordraud and Dunwich survived and luckily for me, that was what happened. What I wasn’t expecting was what was lurking in Gwern. The first chapter started off with describing exactly what was in Gwern, the Nightmare, as labelled as Saiden. The description given by the author was very aptly shown on the cover of Mordraud Book Two, which depicts a humanlike being, with extremely long limbs coming out of the body of a boy, which is obviously Gwern. That picture scared me a little, I must say, but as Gwern started to take control of the massive being made of Flux, I begin to think that maybe the Nightmare isn’t such a bully after all.

As I said in my review of Mordraud Book One, I was hoping for more of Gwern in the second book, and I believe I got my wish granted. This time, the story was concentrated lightly on his efforts and journey mostly with Ilian as he tries to search for Mordraud. I think that of all the characters in this book, Gwern had grown the most, changing from an innocent boy to one that has responsibilities and a person bend on making his own decisions. I must say that his journey had opened his eyes on many things, love, friendship and the life out of Eld. At the beginning, I had expected Ilian to drag him wherever he wants to go, but as soon as they reached New Cambria, and as soon as Ilian revealed to Gwern the burden of the name he carries, Gwern starts to take things into his own hands. I’m thrilled to see that he did not let Ilian push him about. Nearing the climax of the book, I’m a little satisfied to see that Ilian has also started to treat Gwern with respect, although I’m sure that was because of the Flux inside him. But reaching the end of the story, I think that in his own way, Ilian has already gotten fond of Gwern through the journeys they have shared together.

As for Mordraud and Dunwich, the both of them had decided to start their lives anew, one without hatred to drive him on and the other without glory and power. It is interesting to note that they were so close to each other in Syl and they even caught a few glimpses of each other. Dunwich saw the back of his brother in the crowd as Mordraud was running out of Night’s Temple with Zaia and Mordraud saw the rather familiar back of Dunwich during Zaia’s inofficial engagement gathering. I was rather frustrated by that. I just wanted them so see each other as soon as possible, after all they had gone through. I was hoping for them to talk everything out but the author’s idea of drawing them together is far more enticing so I guess in the end, it’s worth the wait. At least this time Dunwich was more humble.

This time the story takes place mainly in Syl and the areas surrounding it. The atmosphere in Syl reminds me of how the world is right now, with all the hustle and bustle, people thinking only of their needs and priorities, where killing is alright as long as you have money and bribery is normality in everyday life. All the talk about the Limit in this book makes me wonder what exactly is men’s Limit. It’s interesting how only a selected few can actually comprehend the very concept of it. The fact that others go mad just by hearing or reading about information regarding Limit is another interesting thing to note. It makes me think that not everyone can handle knowledge in just the right way. They might fear knowledge or twist it to their own advantage, like what Vala had done.

I love the author’s style of writing, as usual. If I look at the three main characters, Mordraud, Gwern and Dunwich, I imagine their lives in the story as lines, always intersecting but never colliding head on until the end when the story, shaped like a circle, draws them ever nearer, until they meet at one point: Syl. That’s what I find so unique and lovely about Mordraud Book Two. Not to mention the fact that all the characters in the book are so solid, so real.

In Mordraud Book Two, my favourite character goes to Tigo. I love that mysterious, slightly eccentric style of his. Before I know what part he played in Sevian’s plan at the end of the story, Tigo was written as a loyal, faithful friend, with a tad bit of malice in him. But then again, I always have a soft spot for artistic and graceful villains.

Many thanks to the author, Fabio Scalini and Rampart for this wonderful and thoroughly exciting book!


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