Vengeance of Hope by P.J. Berman
Publisher/date: Independently published (November 22, 2018)
Provided by the author
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Series: Silrith Series
"Mother of many, Mother of none, a Queen will fall and a Warrior will come.
In a rain of fire and from the ashes of destruction, a daughter shall rise."
Silrith's father is dead. She didn't kill him, but she was framed by her cousin so that he could take the kingdom, Bennvika, for himself. He plans to convert the entire kingdom to his religion, and murder anyone who will not convert.
Ezrina is a member of the Hentani tribe, who has been oppressed by Bennvika for years, but has been allowed to keep their tribal religion, longs for true freedom for her people. And there is no line she will not cross to get it.
Zethun is a young politician, with hope in his eyes and freedom for all in her heart. A true democratic, he wishes to see Bennvika ruled by the people.
I like to think of "Game of Thrones" as a genre now. There have been many amazing books come out after George R.R. Martin's books were turned into an HBO special. Having read the series when I was in the fifth grade and been an avid Martin fan ever since, I'll read them every time!
This book falls into the GOT category, but does not contain magic. It does share the chessboard theme, with no character being 100% the hero, only regular people who make sometimes good and sometimes bad choices that control the fate of thousands. As a fan of the morally ambiguous character, this is right up my alley.
There are some obvious villains, but even the heroes of this story make bad choices and mistakes. There were times when reading this that I was not sure who I should be pulling for. Silrith, the dethroned heroin, who is young and does not always know how to make the people follow her, but wants the best for them? She sometimes comes across as pretentious and spoiled, but she trains and fights beside her army. Should it be Ezrina, the oppressed and violent? While I understand the plight of her people and want their freedom, she shares Silrith's cousin's view that those who do not convert should be killed. Or should it be Zethun, the man of the people? He is very naive sometimes, but he is one of the only people that truly sees the poor. Silrith may not want her people murdered for the purposes of religious conversion, but she also believes that a young adult woman can heal the wounds of a kingdom. I doubt that she would give that throne up if that were what her people truly needed.
I wanted a plot twist in this book. It was good reading, though I also felt like I wasn't sure what the author wanted me to think of the characters. In addition, it kind of breaks my cardinal rule of books. There was not an obvious goal to the story within these pages. There could have been, there was enough there, but it was not carefully laid out enough to have a true "ending" to this book. A battle ended, but was that what this book was about? Not really. You have to read the next book when you finish this, you don't have another choice if you want an ending.
But if you're in GOT hangover mode and don't mind the lack of magic, this is a good series to pick up.