Angus, Terrance, and Saka have made it through the desert to the Mayan Empire, but instead of the refuge they hoped for, they are being held captive. Of a sort. Angus is feared and seen as a Vinnish traitor, as is Terrance, and Saka isn’t allowed into Humanside. The priests have looked at all their thoughts, and they know the way Angus practices magic isn’t like the way they do things. Angus is at their mercy, but all he wants to do is fix the terrible deeds the Vinland Warlocks have done.
But first, they have to prove themselves. Angus and Saka are told they need to have an anchor—someone who can open the void to Demonside. They have that with Terrance, but the priests aren’t happy with that. Angus, as usual, defies them and insists. Terrance first needs to prove himself in a deadly game. If he comes out alive, Angus and Saka can claim him as their anchor.
But Vinland is attacking, and the terrible magic they use kills hundred and nearly kills Angus. But Angus is a Mage, trained in the Demon way of magic, and he survives. And formulates a plan. He knows how to return the magic to Demonside, to rebalance as should have been done the whole time. But he needs help to do it. The demon Mages reluctantly agree, Saka will do whatever Angus wants though he fears losing him, and Terrance plays an integral role he doesn’t want. Together, they can rebalance the magic. If they survive.
T.J. Nichols has created such an amazing and richly developed world in the Studies in Demonology series. And with every book, the details get deeper and more thought out. I love spending time here, and I devoured this book just like I did the first two. They need to be read in order, but trust me when I say it’s worth it.
This book is the culmination of everything that’s been building from the very first word. Angus never wanted to be a warlock, but he got a Mage demon in Saka. From there everything cascaded, and he found what magic is truly about. And he is the only one that can save the world. Not from any innate ability he has—though his heart definitely matters here—but because of his experiences and his education. He’s learned the truth, and feels it deeply. And he knows that no matter what, even if it means his death, he needs to do what he can to save the world.
This series is really his journey, but he could not do it without Saka and Terrance. Both play a huge role in his development, and both anchor him in different ways. The relationship between them all in integral to everything Angus has become. This isn’t exactly a triad, but more of a polyamorous group. Though there is a scene where the three of them are intimately together, it’s much more about what they all bring to each other, how they need each other in different ways. And how both Saka and Terrance need Angus. By this book, the relationship and magic are all tied up in each other. Angus loves both Saka and Terrance, and they him.
My only very small issue with this book was the pacing. While the narrative was well done throughout the book, I found I had issues in the beginning when everyone was being kept apart. They were at the mercy of the priests, but it seemed to me as if it was “just because I say so” and I didn’t feel like I had a concrete enough reason. And then again at the end, with the big ending that was so very satisfying, only it was too fast for my liking. It was a bit rushed, and I wanted this part to go on longer and with more detail. Honestly, though, in the whole of it, this was a small quibble on my part. And I was immensely satisfied with the way things resolved. It had been coming for a long time, and it was what it needed to be (even if I wished for it to be more detailed.)
All in all, this was a great final installment for the book. It needed to be a lot of things, after the build up the author built into this series, and it nailed all of them. This unique plot really kept me engaged through all three books, the world building is fantastic, and the character well drawn and relatable. Definitely pick this series up.
A review copy of this book was provided by DSP Publications.