Rating: 4.25 stars
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Note: Wrath & Other Troubles is the sixth book in T.J. Nichols’ engaging Mytho series and the books tie closely upon one another. This review has spoilers for a side character death at the end of Sloth & Other Delights. Check out my spoiler-free review for Lust & Other Drugs to get started with this great urban fantasy series.
Jordan and Edra are dealing with the fallout from the unicorn magic settling in the city. It has brought some positive changes, in that there is more magic around and the bond between the men has strengthened. But it also brought a tragic death and, for Jordan, a loss of many of his memories. Also, while Edra has experience with the mating bond and the way it connects him to his partner, Jordan is feeling a little more unmoored. It is harder for him to parse out where the line falls in his emotions between himself and Edra, and the loss of so much of his past makes it even more difficult.
Things take a complicated turn when a group of griffins arrive in the city and attack, killing several people. Griffins are dangerous, one of the only predators to a dragon, which leaves Edra unsettled, especially as they have no idea why the griffins are in the city or what they want. It also brings about a clash between the human laws and Mytho governance, particularly when the griffins request sanctuary. Jordan and Edra are trying to untangle things, looking for justice for those killed, but also navigating what is realistic with a Mytho population who has different rules and traditions. And with the vote on whether Mythos can be considered people looming, every move is under scrutiny. Not to mention that if the vote doesn’t go their way, Jordan and Edra’s lives will be turned upside down at best — at worst, they could end up separated for good. Fortunately, Jordan and Edra are strong in their bond and are determined to not only take care of their people, but to celebrate the love they have for one another. Regardless of what happens with the chaos in the city or with the big vote, the men know they are stronger together.
This sixth installment of the Mytho series really ties things together well and sets us up nicely for the series finale. The book picks up in the aftermath of the unicorn and wild magic settling in the city, as well as a devastating loss that is really hitting hard, particularly for Edra. Not only does Edra lose a friend in Ardel, but the city loses a Mytho leader with knowledge and experience that is sorely lacking in his replacement. Then we have Jordan, who is still dealing not only with getting used to the mating bond, but also the loss of his memories. Plus, the murderous griffins that can tear apart a helicopter and swallow a dragon. And, of course, the looming vote for Mytho personhood. So we have a lot stacked against these guys as the book starts and many things to work through. Despite all the difficult hurdles, however, I really like how this story gives Edra and Jordan a chance to become a team and really find their way through these challenges together. Some of the earlier books kept the guys apart a lot more, but here even as they have different responsibilities, the bond between them is so strong and they are connected and relying on each other in a way that is really satisfying as a fan of this couple across the series. Their mate bond really amps things up between them and this story has a lot of heat and nicely showcases the connection between them.
While there are a lot of individual issues the men have to confront, on a larger level, I felt like this story deals with two big themes. One is with regard to Jordan and losing his memories. He knows his past was bad, but he doesn’t remember specifics, and he has to decide if he wants to try to remember or if he wants to move forward and see how he grows and develops without those memories. The Jordan of today is different than the Jordan who remembered his past. We see a sense of ease in his skin, often illustrated by his confidence in wearing lacy things, that he didn’t always have before. He can be a different person, make his own new future without that baggage of the past. At the same time, Jordan doesn’t even really remember his sister, and he has a life and a past that is gone from his mind. So it is a complicated situation and Nichols sets up a nice parallel between Jordan on the small scale and the situation with the Mythos on the larger end. For the Mythos, they have been essentially trying to replicate life on Tariko as much as they could in the human world. They still live by Mytho laws and traditions and run what is basically a shadow government within the human one with their own leaders. At some point, they have to assess if they are serving themselves well by focusing on the past, or if should they accept the new reality and focus on the future. I think the story explores some interesting issues on both the large and small scale and I enjoyed seeing the parallels between the two.
The other big issue is the vote on personhood and the aftermath. I will say I did feel like the vote comes up rather suddenly; I suppose I was expecting more immediate build up in this story (although obviously we have been leading up to this for a while now). I’m not going to spoil the outcome, but I really found it fascinating some of the issues that the story explores in relation to what happens if the Mythos are suddenly given the same rights as humans. Obviously, we want the vote to go their way, and clearly the Mythos deserve to be treated like humans with the same rights and protections. But it isn’t all straightforward. As I noted above, the Mythos have their own laws and governance. What happens if the law passes and suddenly they must abide by human laws instead? Attend human courts or go to human prisons? How do you potentially put a deadly griffin in jail? How would you handle the fact that most humans speak no Mytho languages? Know virtually nothing about Mytho medicine, anatomy, or health? And what would all of that mean for the current Mytho leaders and their role? Even if the Mythos win the vote, it is not like suddenly everything would be simple. There is still so much work that would need to be done to build a unified human/Mytho society. The story touches on so many of these issues and I found it really interesting.
This sixth installment really brings things together nicely, giving us a host of new issues to explore and also setting things up for the final book. Things get dangerous and exciting and I am really eager to see how it all comes to a close. I find this such a great paranormal/urban fantasy series and Nichols is so good with the world building. I am really enjoying these books and can definitely recommend them.