Author: Taran Matharu
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Length: 368 pages
Source: Library Book
A year has passed since the Tournament.
Fletcher and Ignatius have been locked away in Pelt’s dungeons, but now they must face a trial at the hands of the Inquisition, a powerful institution controlled by those who would delight in Fletcher’s downfall.
The trial is haunted by ghosts from the past with shocking revelations about Fletcher’s origins, but he has little time to dwell on them; the graduating students of Vocans are to be sent deep into the orc jungles to complete a dangerous mission for the king and his council. If they fail, the orcish armies will rise to power beyond anything the Empire has ever seen.
With loyal friends Othello and Sylva by his side, Fletcher must battle his way to the heart of Orcdom and save Hominum from destruction…or die trying.
Protagonist: Fletcher is in a crap ton of trouble when this book starts off. First off he's been in jail for a year and still has yet to receive word of a trial for a crime he *technically* didn't commit. Like I said, Fletcher is in quite a bind when this book begins. It seems as if all his enemies have teamed up to see him suffer. However, if they hadn't Fletcher might never find out where he truly comes from. After the trial of his life Fletcher and other students from Vocans are sent deep into the orc jungles on not only a rescue mission, but the trim the orcs' growing armies before they can rise up. You know it's pretty much impossible to hate Fletcher when his enemies are such bigoted, racist, and classist assholes. Granted if they weren't I don't think I'd even come to disliking Fletcher. He's a great character, he has a fair sense of judgement and he strives to do what is best for his country. In this book he discovers who he is, but doesn't let that discovery change who he is.
World Building: So, if you've read my review of The Novice, the first book in this series, you know that I absolutely hated the people I dubbed the "Entitled Assholes," well they're back and stronger than ever. Luckily their hatred and bigotry is mostly grouped and concentrated toward the beginning of this book. The bad thing is though, while reading it I literally got sick with rage and disgust. That's not even anywhere close to an exaggeration, and I'm usually fairly apathetic when reading racist and bigoted characters because well, they're the bad guys, but this was a whole new level of it, but again once you get through the trial it's practically smooth sailing from there. Now this book opens up an entirely new world as we get a better look at the Orcs and Gremlins, the perceived enemy races to our heroes. There are a few new things introduced that add dimension and almost breathe new life into this story (not that it needed it) and as the story winds down there are hints at where this story looks to be going, and new questions to replace those that were answered in this book.
Predictability: "I CALLED IT!" I said that at least two or three times in this book with extreme vigor. Granted there were more than two or three twists in this book that I was able to predict, and more than a few that I was not, but arguably the bigger twists I called from early on. Now, that doesn't mean this book is super predictable. In fact for the final and arguably largest twist, there was a lot of evidence to crush my theory but I held fast and was VINDICATED! In all serious though this book has some fantastic and unpredictable moments, and even the ones I could figure out and solve were still fantastic wrinkles to this amazing story.
Ending: Gah! This ending, where do I begin. In all honesty I don't quite know. As I said before the ending of this book seems to set up some new mysteries for our heroes and looks to promise new adventure and things to discover. I'm pretty sure this is a trilogy, as the cliffhanger ending wasn't shocking, though where things are led was. The final climax of this book was epic and amazing. It left me breathless and then to top everything off the way that the author did was incredible. I'm kind of kicking myself for reading this book so soon, I'm not even chomping at the bit for the next book, I've chomped through the bit and am looking for something else to sink my teeth into..
So the concentrated dose of Entitled Assholes at the beginning did make me seethe with fury and sick with disgust, but hopefully they'll all get their comeuppance in the end, I'm serious if this author redeems even one of them I'm going to lose it! Anyway this book is fantastic, and following the trial I everything was even better!