Today Jay and Kris are back with a buddy review for On the Wings of War, the fifth book in Hailey Turner’s Soulbound series. These books are connected with an overarching plot and are best read in order. After the plot overview, Jay and Kris have a chat about the book and their reactions.
After the Morrígan’s staff slipped through their fingers in Chicago, Patrick and Jono are still trying to track it down before it ends up in the hands of the Dominion Sect. When word comes that the staff may be appearing in a private auction in London, the men head there with their pack to try to retrieve it. Jono hasn’t been to London since he was banished by their god pack, and Patrick would rather he stay in New York and avoid the danger, but Jono is determined to be by Patrick’s side.
When they arrive in London, they first must make nice with the local god pack to ensure safe passage through the city. But the London pack is harboring a dangerous secret that threatens the men, as well as their attempt to retrieve the staff at auction. Their journey then takes them to Paris, where even more trouble is afoot. People are mysteriously disappearing, but worse, the staff may have fallen into the hands of someone with the power to raise the dead. It is going to take all the power of their pack, plus the aid of some friends, for Patrick and Jono to stop a madman before the city is destroyed.
Jay: Hi Kris! I am excited today to chat with you about the latest Soulbound book, On the Wings of War! This was a really interesting story for me as it feels a bit different in tone to the other books. A little bit of a sense of setting things up for the big conflict, and less of a focus on the mythology end of things.
Kris: Hey there! Yep, I wholly agree. That was exactly my thought on it. It definitely felt like it was getting ready for the big, final battle, and there were a lot of characters and gods we’ve met before. Calling back to the first four in the series, reminding the reader of things that have come before, with only a little focus on a new mythology. Which was interesting to see, as this one was one I hadn’t heard about!
Jay: Yes, the Slavic mythology was a really nice addition. First, because it was new to the series. But also because it is not a pantheon I have seen in romance. So it was nice to get a different cultural perspective.
Kris: Definitely. I fell down an internet rabbit hole afterward, which was fun. You know I’m pretty well versed in a bunch of different mythos, and so I’ve had a basis for all the gods, goddesses, and mythologies we’ve encountered so far in this series. I couldn’t wait to find out what we were dealing with here, and I was thrilled it was something so new and different, and little known to me.
Jay: Ok, so let’s break this down for folks. Like I said, this book puts some pieces in place. The guys hear that Morrigan’s staff may go up for black market auction in London, so they all head there to try to intercept it before the Dominion Sect gets their hands on it. I thought it was fun to see the different pack dynamics of the London god pack. We have seen the guys deal with both NY, and then Chicago in the last book, and now London, and each has a different dynamic. I also thought it was nice to get that closure for Jono, who was banned from London by the pack and now he is returning home. I appreciate that it gives him a chance to realize how happy he is and how far he has come.
Kris: Yes, it was a good for Jono, because he’s been stepping into his role with power and grace, but there was a little bit of him that was always so hurt by never being able to join the god pack in London, and now, he could come back and show them what they missed out on. Not that he’s the type of guy that needed to rub it in their faces, that’s not who Jono is, he’s just about doing what’s right, but it was a way for him to settle that part of his past and move forward. Having Patrick, Sage, and Wade (and how much do we love Wade?!) there with him, his pack, solidified things for him, I think. I felt like he was even more ready and raring to face the future after having had that.
Jay: Yes, I liked that Jono gets closure, but also sees that he has found what he is looking for with his new family.
And yes, Wade! I love him so much! I think Hailey Turner gets him spot on. He is just coming out of his teenage years, with all the lack of impulse control and inability to always see beyond his own immediate needs and wants. He also had such a traumatic youth that in some ways he is a little behind in his peopling. But at the same time, here we see him really step up in a big way when needed. I loved the scenes when Wade is able to really save the day. Because first… dragons. But also because it gives him such a sense of pride an accomplishment.
Kris: You said it. Turner definitely gets his human aspects right, for his age and his past, and then gives him such dragon-y features too. He’s comic relief in a lot of ways, but also has these moments of vulnerability that show just what he’s gone through, how much he relies on his pack, and how he needs reassurance and it really makes him feel real and relatable.
Jay: Agreed on all of that. And this was a fun one because Sage, Jono, Patrick, and Wade are all working together (along with some friends) and I loved the dynamic among all of them. I found that part a lot of fun.
Then of course, it all goes to hell and they must go from London to Paris and suddenly they are in the middle of a giant battle, zombie apocalypse insanity, and whoa, talk about epic battle scenes!
Kris: And it’s the second epic battle scene in the book. First, at the auction, and that was whoa, holy crap. But I knew it couldn’t be the *big* battle because it was only partway through. As soon as I realized a necromancer was going to Paris, I knew we were in trouble. Catacombs plus reanimation equals end of the world type problems. And Turner didn’t disappoint. I was on the edge of my seat from the moment it began.
Jay: Oh yes, the catacombs aspect was really interesting. Just getting that bit of history of the city. And yes, two awesome battles here. I particularly liked the second one because not only was it epic is scope, but I enjoyed seeing how all the players came together and used their different skills — the different types of mages, the shifters, the dragon, the gods/goddesses, the humans. It really brought everyone together in cool ways.
Kris: Definitely. As I said before, there’s a lot of call backs to people and gods/goddesses we’ve seen before. There’s a lot of moving parts to this series, a lot of characters, and it was all brought to a head here, with many different factions coming together. It really drove home that not only are Patrick and Jono not alone in their fight, but that many different talents, aspects, and abilities will be needed considering how things ended and where things are going to go in the next book.
Jay: Totally agree. I really enjoy these guys together so much, particularly how they come to rely on one another. I don’t think we got as much relationship development here as in the prior books, however. This was more action oriented in my opinion.
Kris: Yes, but also, I think Patrick is more settled than he ever has been. He’s been growing every book, and here I felt that he was really solid in his love for Jono (even if he can’t say it yet) and really solid in his pack. It took him a while to get here, but their connection is stronger than ever (literally) and he knows without a doubt now that not only can he rely on them, but that he has to. And that’s fine with him. Finally.
Jay: Yep, I do agree with that. I feel that there is no question from either man that this is it. And in fact, we see that more or less officially acknowledged after some events in the book. So I love the journey they have both been on. If I’m being honest, I’m kind of over the “I love you, but I can’t say the words” thing. But I do just love these guys together.
Kris: Same, really. Especially here, because Patrick shows it in everything he does now. I was hoping to see it here, but I also understand, from a narrative standpoint, why he didn’t say it.
Jay: Right, agreed.
Kris: But I love how solid our found family is now. They’re ready to take on the Dominion Sect and win.
Jay: Yes, love it. Love them all as a pack, as well as the friends who are joining them (albeit reluctantly in Lucien’s case).
Ok, other things to cover? My only real negative here is that I felt like the early part of the book is a lot of set up and I found myself a little lost at times with all these characters and so many alphabet agencies. I couldn’t really remember the differences between these organizations, who worked for who, who is allied with who, and who is in conflict, etc. I found myself not really able to parse it all out.
Kris: I didn’t have so much trouble with that, but I did feel the pacing in the beginning was a little slow. I also found myself waiting to find out which mythos we were dealing with here, and felt the usual detail was lacking, which for me, was a bit disappointing.
Jay: Right, this one was slower to start, but made up action at the end.
Kris: Yeah, the pacing was a touch off for me this time around. And I felt it was leaning heavily toward “set up for the next book” at some points, which didn’t work quite as well for me. In the earlier books, there were pieces for throughout series, but the focus was mainly on the current trouble.
Jay: Yes, agreed. Is the sixth book the final one? I feel like we are really set up for the big showdown, but I can’t remember how many books there are planned.
Kris: Yep, six books total. [ETA: We just got word that the series is going to be seven books total]
Jay: So yeah, we are getting ready for the big showdown here, and while this book does have a bit of a “set up for the finale” feel, I still think this was a great installment.
Anything else, or should we get to ratings?
Kris: Definitely a great installment. And there were parts that fall as my favorite parts of the whole series. I’m going with a 4.5 for that reason.
Jay: Ok, I am going to say that while it was slow to start and a bit alphabet soup early on, the amazing battle scenes, plus the fun dynamic among the characters really made this one solid for me. I’m going to say 4.25 stars.
Kris: Makes sense. It’s all leading up to an epic finale, and I’m ready to see where it goes. Hailey Turner needs to finish writing the sixth book!
Jay: I know! I am impatient! But yes, great set up for the finale. If you have been reading along, you won’t want to miss this. And if you aren’t reading, now is your time to get on this because the end is coming soon!
Kris: This series is an easy recommendation from me. The world building is utterly fantastic, and even though there’s a lot going on, the author does a pretty dang good job of laying it all out.
Jay: Yep, agreed! We are ready for more!