Requiemis by far the best of the Blood War trilogy. It seems as if Marquitz is finding his fantasy feet (although I doubt he ever lost them since feet are usually stuck on).
What I like about Tim is that we have little romance and lots of action. Tons of it in fact. The Blood War trilogy is after all about a war fought on all possible sides against overwhelming odds. Which is why I add my warning: Beware of blood and gore. War is ugly and so is this. There is no attempt at sugar-coating the brutality of warring parties in Requiem nor is there a glorification of the violence.
I retain my favorites from before: Arrin / Uthul and Zaree and this time I am adding Ellara (this is one resilient girl). Ellara is an orphan from Lathah who ends up helping orphan friends and the royal family in their escape attempts. She showed the kind of grit she had in Embers of an Age and has the same kind of gumption in Requiem. A girl to admire.
While Blood War is considered dark fantasy it is still full of hope. Maybe it is this hope that makes intelligent beings fight for their lives. My brain finds it mysterious to see the lengths of suffering people are willing to endure just so they will not die. But in Requiem we also see that for some people there comes a point when dying is an expression of hope.
I think a fair criticism of Embers of an Age comes from Sylvain Martel (below). Sylvain comments on the way the various nations must be squashed together as the time from one to the other takes such a short while. I had the same thought while reading but had forgotten that disturbance as I was paying more attention to the characters themselves. It is true. The pace at which these characters must travel is immense.
My favorite character continues to be Arrin. He is so obviously a tragic hero who happens to be part of a story that seems to have very few happy endings. With all of the blood and gore Marquitz places us in it is difficult to imagine any of the characters having a Disney ending to their story – Arrin least of all.
Next to Arrin come Zalee and Uthul (the Sha’ree). Zalee and Uthul are daughter and father. Both are subject to the strange illness that comes with using magic contained in the O’hra but still choose to do so. Coming out from their homeland has brought home to them exactly what the Sha’ree have missed by absenting themselves for so long. I sometimes see that in my own life. Because I am fortunate in so many aspects of my life it is sometimes tempting to stick my head in the sand and become blind to the lives of other people. Maybe that is why I like Uthul and Zalee so much. They have chosen to raise their heads and see.
Sultae is my final favorite. She is obviously out to get revenge for how she has been wronged and she has become insane with that need and her understandable hatred. I get that feeling as well. Sometimes I have felt it myself and sometimes I have had friends and acquaintances who have wanted to destroy those who have wronged them so badly. While she does not take up much space in Embers of an Age, Sultae is an essential part of the story. Without her it would not have happened.
There is tons of fighting of one type or another. People are running from place to place chased by various creatures. Action is present from beginning to end and Marquitz ends this story on a cliff-hanger. There are still hiccups but the Blood War trilogy is getting better.
Dawn of Warwas free on Kindle and it sounded interesting enough for me to try it out. No regrets there. While I hesitated to buy the rest I found Arrin so interesting that I had to get the rest of the trilogy so I could find out what happened to him.
When reading the Blood War trilogy you are going to have to bring your brain. There are a lot of plots and subplots and characters to keep in order. Even though Dawn of War is an uncomplicated novel it is definitely full of threads to keep hold of.
Violence is frequent and descriptive. Dawn of War is no children’s novel nor do I think it would be a good fit for below 15s (just my opinion).
The Blood War trilogy is dark fantasy. There are no easy or happy endings here. Well there are some happy endings but plenty of endings of lives that I wished had lived. If you do not like beloved characters dying then you had better stay away from Blood War.
In Dawn of War we get to meet several races of people:
The O’hra: Ancients (not much info on them yet)
The Sha’ree: The supposed top of the top of the different races of Ahreele but probably dying out.
The Grol: A doglike people with highly aggressive and racist behavior.
The Bloodpack: A wolflike people with aggressive yet controlled behavior.
The Lathahn: Arrin Urrael has been exiled from them for the past 20 years.
The Pathran: A catlike people
The Velen: A pacifist people.
The Yvir: A people dedicated to the protection of the Velen.
All of the races are somewhat war-like with the exception of the Velen. Without the Yvir they would have been extinct. The most warlike seem to be the Grol who want to kill and eat anything not themselves and when it suits them even kill and eat their own. So not people you want to mess with. But up until the beginning of Dawn of War the Grol have been too weak to eradicate the rest of the races. Now, somehow, they have gotten hold of magical artifacts, artifacts that make it possible for them to tear down the walls of cities without much damage to themselves.
This is pretty much what the Blood War trilogy is about: the desire of the Grol and their allies to take all of Ahreele and the rest who are not interested in this.
Two major mysteries present themselves. How did the Grol get a hold of their magical weapons and who is directing their movements? Good questions and you know I am not going to answer them because that would just ruin the whole thing.
Arrin Urrael is our reluctant hero. Others come our way in Dawn of War, but he is the HERO: loyal, good fighter, kind, brave, dutiful, self-sacrificing and all of the other terms that might fit for a hero. The funny thing is that Arrin is all of this in spite of being able to see the world and people for what and who they are. Arrin has, after all, kept himself alive for the past 20 years in spite of the odds (with the help of his magic collar).
Marquitz writes in a way that hops from one important character to the other from chapter to chapter. For Dawn of War this approach both works and does not work. Keeping in the flow is incredibly difficult when you switch characters. I know I could never do it.