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Book Review: Tethers of War

Table of Contents

“As darkness looms and war ignites

Dragons rule the skies, and factions seek the fabled Desolation Blade, the only weapon capable of slaying the beasts. In Tovillore, chaos reigns as the tyrannical Sagean Emperor returns, craving vengeance and set on annihilating the New World and its champion, Ellaria Moonstone.

With the fate of the New World hanging in the balance, our heroes embark on treacherous quests.
Ellaria leads a perilous envoy through war-torn lands, burdened by prophecies and the weight of the past. While Kovan, fueled by resurfacing memories, embarks on a desperate journey to find his long-lost daughter, armed with a mystical compass.

Tali and Learon, torn apart, each face their own Tali a fugitive in a foreign land is hunted by the Zenoch. Meanwhile, Learon venturing into the Shadowyn realm, confronts his greatest challenge yet. Amidst chaos and treachery, the intertwined destinies of all, will determine the fate of humanity. For the Tethers of War have come and all shall reap the whirlwind.

The Tethers of War will sweep you into a steampunk world of magic and machines, where alliances fracture, realms collide, and the destiny of all hangs in the balance. Brace yourself for a tale of intertwined fates, where the choices made will shape the destiny of all.”

Title: Tethers of War

Series: The Luminance Saga #3

Author: Steven Rudy

Page Count: 552

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: 5.0/5.0

Date Read: February 6th, 2024

I had planned on getting to Tethers of War before the end of 2023 but it simply didn’t happen. This was the third installment of the Luminance Saga. Let me first state that I had assumed this was the finale of a trilogy so my overall experience took a bit of an emotional discovery and turn in the last 20% or so of the book. After chatting briefly with Steven Rudy this morning I now know he initially planned this to be a total of 5 books but now thinks he might be able to wrap the arc up in the fourth which he is currently working on. Either way I’m sure this epic journey will continue and ultimately wrap up nicely whenever that time comes.
 
Looking back it’s still amazing that I found Steven and his work picking his debut The Binding Tempest a bit at random through NetGalley almost three years ago now. The world wasn’t my usual epic fantasy but sounded interesting and I ultimately loved it and have tried to keep up with the series as he releases new books. Tethers of War though was certainly showing visible growth in Steven’s storytelling on the pages. I’ll get to my three usual categories that are important to me enjoying my reads. But I’ll say it right now, Tethers of War is definitely going to be in the running as my favorite read of 2024!
 
The pacing was solid in Tethers of War. I did notice a few editing issues here and there in the form of typos or misused words for what I’m assuming the intent was. But for as epic of a read this was, they didn’t stand out too much. Just a small hiccup here and there. Steven’s writing style definitely connects with me as I tend to sit down and just devour pages any chance I can find. Even though there are a lot of characters and cultures in this world, I didn’t have any issues with names of characters or places to trip me up either. Now granted this is the third book so many of these names have already been introduced and should be comfortable at this point anyways.
 
The world building was also nicely done in Tethers of War. I mentioned we have several cultures coming together in this one. There are also different factions to go along with those cultures as well as some grand scale in geography as well. These new regions are beautifully describe by the author to really make me feel like I was there. One of the most notable of these for me was the Trial of the Five Peaks. I want say more than that to try and avoid spoilers. There are plenty of others as we have action in forests, on water, in tunnels and in wastelands in this tale.
 
Last is the character development and oh my did Steven nail this one in my mind! We see plenty of growth between all of our surviving characters from the last book. We also have a couple of new characters which add some nice flavor to the story. The biggest thing of note for me with characters in Tethers of War is some of the reveals. I was taking notes off and on and making some guesses on things. I’m happy to say that the author got me on a couple of them and I was pleasantly surprised. Looking back on things now that I’m finished he tossed a lot of easter eggs out there for the reader to find along the way. I just didn’t pick them all up or my brain was already seeing things a different way and I didn’t take them into consideration. I love books that can surprise me like that but ultimately still make sense when it’s finished. Some books make those turns at the end and just leave me speechless and I’m left thinking how or why that happened. Not in this case.
 
I’m obviously in this for the long haul at this point. I’ll continue to keep an eye out for what Steven puts out next whether it’s one or two books to wrap up this series or what he does after this.
 
As far as recommendations go, I’d recommend this to readers who like fantasy but with a bit of a twist from the traditional where we have aspects of technology as well. I can think of at least one reader/writer friend who has trouble with any type of guns in his fantasy reads and I get that. It has worked for me as it just gives me something different. We still have magic, religion, martial abilities as well as dragons in this world. There is a lot going on to experience in the Luminance Saga.

World Building 5/5
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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