Rating: 4.25 stars
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Caelan Talos, King of Erya, has barely regained control of his country from invading enemies when he is forced to leave for the xenophobic nation of Xanthe. It’s far from what Caelan would choose, but with two gods sharing space inside his mind, he’s must capitulate to their demands. Which means a journey to Xanthe to wake the dead god Nyx. At his side are his loyal bodyguard, Eno; his friend, Drayce; and advisor, Rayne. Their path is a treacherous one, through territory where everyone is a potential enemy and a potential threat.
It helps that Caelan and Drayce finally have an open relationship and don’t have to hide themselves anymore. But far from home, Caelan will discover that even the people he trusts the most still harbor dark secrets, ones that will change their relationships forever.
Wake the Dead is the third in the Godstone Saga and these must be read in order. With Wake the Dead, we find Caelan dealing with not one, but two gods jockeying for space inside of him while being forced to confront a third. It’s a hard road for a man who has barely had time to grieve the passing of his mother and dealing with his sudden rise to King and it’s a path that seems destined to become ever more difficult.
As with the rest of the series, the driving forces behind Wake the Dead are the four central characters of Rayne, Eno, Caelan, and Drayce. Each have become integral to the overall story and to my enjoyment of it. Even Drayce, who has long been my least favorite of the quartet, has become something of an old friend. There wasn’t a ton of character development this time around, but instead we see a solidifying of both friendships and romances. There are incidents involving both Rayne and Drayce that are both unexpected and set up interesting possibilities for the future.
There were times that Wake the Dead felt like something of a placeholder. That isn’t to say it was bad, but it didn’t seem like a ton of forward plot momentum occurred either. Rather, the book read as the centerpiece for what is a multi-book epic. What it offers is important, but perhaps it lacked the occasionally frantic energy of the first two. I felt Wake the Dead, like its predecessors, missed reaching the tier of high fantasy and read more like an alternate reality realm instead. That said, the heart of the Godstone Saga has always been its characters and that remains the reason why I continue to enjoy these books.
While Wake The Dead isn’t the most action packed or plot driven of the series, I still found it enjoyable to read. It was rather like visiting with familiar friends on a mini adventure and knowing there is more to come. The next in the series is due out in a couple months, so if you’ve enjoyed the Godstone Saga thus far, relish Wake the Dead and get ready for Wings of Fire.