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Book Review: The Will of the Many

Table of Contents

At the elite Catenan Academy, a young fugitive uncovers layered mysteries and world-changing secrets in this new fantasy series by internationally bestselling author of The Licanius Trilogy, James Islington.


The Catenan Republic – the Hierarchy – may rule the world now, but they do not know everything.

I tell them my name is Vis Telimus. I tell them I was orphaned after a tragic accident three years ago, and that good fortune alone has led to my acceptance into their most prestigious school. I tell them that once I graduate, I will gladly join the rest of civilised society in allowing my strength, my drive and my focus – what they call Will – to be leeched away and added to the power of those above me, as millions already do. As all must eventually do.

I tell them that I belong, and they believe me.

But the truth is that I have been sent to the Academy to find answers. To solve a murder. To search for an ancient weapon. To uncover secrets that may tear the Republic apart.

And that I will never, ever cede my Will to the empire that executed my family.

To survive, though, I will still have to rise through the Academy’s ranks. I will have to smile, and make friends, and pretend to be one of them and win. Because if I cannot, then those who want to control me, who know my real name, will no longer have any use for me.

And if the Hierarchy finds out who I truly am, they will kill me.”

Title: The Will of the Many

Series: The Hierarchy #1

Author: James Islington

Page Count: 639

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 4.0/5.0

Date Read: November 7th, 2023

The Will of the Many was November Buddy Read Group’s selection. This one was already on my radar due to loving the author’s Licanius series so I was a bit excited to get into this one.
As I knew this was on a the larger size and how many reads I currently have on my plate, I opted for the audiobook for this one. The audiobook is narrated by Euan Morton which I thought did a solid job. I don’t believe I’ve listened to anything from this narrator in the past. The fact I didn’t need to listen for a bit and start over is a good sign. I often find myself doing this when I’m experience either narrators or authors for the first time.
The pacing was solid. I’ll get to the world building in just a moment but this world and the story is huge! But the reason I feel the pacing was done so well is the fact I never really got the feeling we were having information overload or that things were just kind of dragging along without something happening. That is a good sign for me. Some of the names were a bit unique. Not so much where it pulled me out of the story but for a buddy read, it was difficult at times only having the audio and not having a clue how to spell a name. But that might just be more of a problem with my own understanding or education of other cultures or countries. I just thought I’d mention it.
The worldbuilding was really interesting. I mentioned the beginning of the book gave me a vibe of being a mashup between Gladiator and The Count of Monte Cristo. I’m happy to say that theme does seem steady throughout with a bit of Hunger Games or Maze Runner throw in as well. All of this thrown into a world feeling rather Roman-like. The amount of betrayal, deception and general intrigue keeps things very interesting.
The character development was top notch. This was another book with a lot of characters. This seems to be a common theme for so many of my reads this year. I felt each character is unique enough though not to get confused after you get to know them. I’m sure some of this should be credited to Euan’s narration as well. But the substance that make up each of these characters still comes back to the author.
I’d like to close stating that the last 20% or so of this book was very strong. The ending itself left me wanting to dive into the second book right away. The epilog was jaw dropping as it brought things back around. Unfortunately, we’re going to need to wait for that.
If you enjoyed the author’s Licanius series, I’d certainly recommend this one. Even if you weren’t fully onboard with that one, still give this one a try. It’s a completely different world and I’m certain the author has evolved a bit from his first series. I can’t pick out anything specific but I’m sure the growth is there.

World Building4/5
Pacing 4.5/5
Character Development 5/5

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Chad Barnard

Owner/Operator of The Hiking Reader Blog. Sharing thoughts on books and hiking trails and trying to find ways to continue to incorporate both hobbies together.

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