The Fall (Thieves of Fate #2) by Tracy Townsend

FallThe Fall is the second Instalment in Tracy Townsend’s Thieves of Fate series in which we once again return to a fascinating world.

Please be aware that this review may contain spoilers for The Nine so please don’t read this if you haven’t read the first book yet – and also, I would suggest you read the first in series rather than diving straight into The Fall otherwise you’ll be missing out on a lot of world and character building.

In The Nine we literally discover a self writing book that documents the experiences of nine selected individuals as they go about their everyday existence.  They’re guinea pigs in a way, chosen seemingly randomly to allow God the chance to scrutinise their actions and behaviour.  This series focuses on three primary species – humans – (needs no explanation I think), Lanyani – trees of a sort, they can move about, communicate and more importantly think quite strategically and Aigamuxa – creatures that are large, strong and fast.  They also communicate and are able to think, their eyes are set in their heels – definitely an unusual development and they tend to resort to violence in the first resort.

The second book takes us about 8 or 9 months after the conclusion of No.1.  Rowena is working in the Alchemist’s apothecary, the alchemist is still recovering and Anslem is conspiring with the Alchemist to keep Rowena in the dark about things.  Everything is going swimmingly until they’re invited to a party, a party that sees them being hired for an unusual job that involves the trio travelling a long way to explore a library – ( I’ll repeat it for those who missed it first time – explore a library).  Meanwhile other things, plenty of other things, are afoot, conspiring is rife and everyone seems to be scheming – the self writing book has fallen into different hands that could endanger everyone and certain species are becoming allies most unexpectedly.

This is proving to be a series that has plenty going on and no shortage of thought provoking material.  It’s very clever, incredibly creative and well plotted with a great combination of science and theology.  There are plenty of characters and in fact there’s a much deeper exploration of motivations.  However, and I’m just going to get this out of the way early on, this does slow the pace somewhat, particularly in the first half of the book.  There’s a lot to take on board, plenty of POVs and plots just waiting to break out.  Basically, you need to pay close attention, everything is relevant here and so you need to carefully digest each chapter.  I realise that probably sounds a bit dramatic or perhaps even puzzling – like, ‘don’t you pay attention to every book you read?’ Obviously, yes, but some books just take more brain power than others is what I’m driving at. So, yes, a slow start that you need to be patient with – but well worth the effort.

The author really builds on the world in this instalment taking us exploring much further afield and spending time with different cultures and, given the way the story ends, I think that’s a trend that is set to continue.  I really liked this aspect of the story, we visit a Japanese inspired country with a love of clockwork invention and spend time getting to know the politics and set up which result in some interesting developments.

In terms of criticisms.  Well, as I mentioned, there is a slight slowing of pace initially which makes it feel like the plot is pending somehow, just waiting to really get started.  For me, there was something more holding me back and it took me a while to figure out what that was.  I think, to be honest, it boils down to the fact that Rowena, Anselm and the Bear have less page time.  Obviously, that was necessary in order to explore what was going on with the others in the story and to give readers a deeper insight but I felt the lack of their presence a little – even whilst I understand the necessity for it.

All that being said, the second half of the book really does come into its own with a burst of action and revelations and the ending has left me desperate to pick up the next book.  So, in spite of a few issues here and there this was still a very good read.  You do need to exercise patience but overall it’s a clever plot that’s well executed.

I received a copy courtesy of the publisher, through Edelweiss, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.