The Age of Darkness approaches.
Wow, it has been such a ride to be back in this lush fantasy world that Katy has created! Whether you guys are reading this for the first time or rereading it for the second or third, I hope you guys are enjoying this experience as much as I am! As soon as I finished reading Part One, I had to continue on because the story is just so captivating, but before we head into talking about part two, let’s recap part one:
We meet our 5 main characters: Ephyra (the assassin), Hassan (the prince), Anton (the gambler), Jude (the protector) and Beru (the innocent). We also have these bad guys, called The Witnesses, led by their seemingly worse leader, the Heirophant. There are people in our world called the Graced and they have special abilities/powers like healing, being able to sense others by their esha (kind of like a person’s soul), enhanced strength and speed or the ability to create artifacts imbued with unique properties. The Witnesses hate the Graced and want to kill them all (well, destroy their Grace, which is just as bad). Now, there’s also this other group called the Order of the Last Light, who were basically living under the radar for the last hundred years, harboring some big secret prophecy that no one else knows about but them — talk about being selfish.
We start out learning about Ephyra and Beru. These two are sisters and Ephyra has been out murdering people (only bad people who deserve it though; don’t get crazy) in order to use the esha of the dead to help heal her sister from some strange illness that has befallen her. Ephyra, like any good serial killer, leaves a mark on her victims; a pale handprint. This earned her a fun nickname — The Pale Hand.
Hassan, we find out, is the Prince of Herat, but he’s in hiding with his aunt because the Witnesses invaded his homeland and captured his parents. He is what they call Graceless, so far, but there is still time for his Grace to manifest. He wants to explore, but not be recognized (he is a prince and all), so he disguises himself and ends up meeting a pretty badass girl in a refugee camp, Kehpri, who happens to be looking for the Prince of Herat to help her take back their land. He doesn’t tell her who he is — coward.
Then there’s Jude. Jude is next in line to be the Keeper of the Word (leader of the Order of the Last Light) and has to choose his own crew to lead soon. His dad tells him they finally found The Last Prophet and now its all up to him to lead the Order. Jude ends up picking his crew and choosing his best friend (that showed up back at the Order last minute after having left the Order on some soul searching) for the final spot. Even his dad thinks this is a bad idea.
Anton. Oh, sweet Anton. He has a real gambling problem, this kid. Honestly, I’m not surprised. He’s had a hard life. Running from someone who terrifies him and wants him dead (turns out it’s his brother) and dealing with being Graced and all. Apparently, he’s really powerful, but he’s too scared to use his Grace because it brings up some really bad memories from his past and gives him horrible anxiety. His brother is finally hot on his trail, but who should show up to rescue him, but Ephyra. She’s not doing this out of the kindness of her heart though — she needs him to use his Grace to help find the cure for Beru. Only problem is, he’s still having trouble using his Grace, so Ephyra offers to kill his brother for him. Problem solved, right?
Well, Jude and his crew end up sailing to the city where Hassan is living with his aunt. This was no happy accident. The Order is there for Hassan. Remember how Jude’s dad had said they found The Last Prophet? Yeah, that’s him. Hassan is him. The Last Prophet is the Prince of Herat.
Wow! What an explosive start to this epic journey! So, I get to discuss Part Two with you guys! The story just gets more interesting and interwoven from here.
Here is where we learn about The Age of Darkness. What is this thing that has people on the edge? Basically, it’s the destruction of the Graced; no one left to heal, protect or create for the people. The prophecy says that three things will bring about The Age of Darkness: A Deceiver, the Pale Hand of Death, and one who would rise from the dust. There’s also something called The Reckoning, all part of the Heirophant’s plan to destroy the Graced and it seems like it could actually be a real thing. So, if “the deceiver” is the Heirophant and Ephyra is “the Pale Hand of Death”, who is “the one who would rise from the dust”? Well, The Last Prophet, is supposed to be able to see how to stop the Age of Darkness, but Hassan can’t see how this is possible since his Grace hasn’t had the decency to show up yet.
While all this is going on, Anton sets up a meeting with his brother, Ilya, so that Ephyra can kill him, but maybe has a change of heart after seeing possible remorse in his brother’s eyes? Well, hesitation killed the cat…or…something like that. Sentry guards end up capturing Ephyra and Anton thinking they are trying to steal from the temple where they met Ilya. Ephyra can’t stay locked up for long and tries to escape, but gets caught. Remember Jude’s friend who left to find himself and ended up being part of his crew? His name is Hector and he happens to see Ephyra when she’s caught trying to escape and recognizes her. She’s the one who killed his family. This sets him into a revenge spiral, from which, he will likely not return. Jude tries to help him and in doing so, realizes how much he really cares for Hector…like, really cares, but this is a big no, no for the members of the Order. Their lives must be devoted to the Prophet and only the Prophet.
Our Last Prophet is still infatuated with Khepri from the refugee camp. She takes him to see Reza, who was attacked with Godfire, which is used to burn the Grace out of people. Sounds painful; looks that way too after seeing Reza. This is how the Witnesses plan to bring about The Reckoning. One night, Hassan has a dream…or is it a dream? Seems too real to be a dream, maybe its his Grace showing him a vision of how to stop the Age of Darkness! That must be it, so he tells everyone and their mama about it, which sets the gears in motion for plans to defeat the Heirophant and the Witnesses. Oh, and he tells Khepri that he’s The Last Prophet and he needs her army. No biggie. Also, Hassan’s aunt decides to flaunt her big guns and provide a fleet of ships as well.
So, Hector is off trying to get revenge on the Pale Hand by looking for her sister, with Anton’s help, and Jude needs to find him to stop him before he does something stupid. Hector ends up finding Beru and learning of her “sickness”. Basically, Beru died a long time ago and is kind of like a zombie risen from the dead by her sister. She’s not sick, she’s just undead. The call her a Revenant and she’s one of the things that will bring about the Age of Darkness (one who would rise from the dust). Jude catches up with Hector and they argue, then Jude ends up falling off a roof and hurting himself. Anton ends up taking him to a healer at a tavern. There are people gambling in this tavern. Uh oh. Things don’t look good for Anton, get this boy outta here! Too late, he steals Jude’s special sword and gambles it for passage to Tel Amot. Jude finds out and demands to be included in this passage to Tel Amot (this happened to be where Hector had said he was going to find Beru). Anton may have a gambling problem, but he’s good at what he does, so naturally, he wins. Before they even have a chance to leave, Ephyra and Ilya find them. Turns out Ilya is working for the Witnesses and he’s a pretty good liar. He really had everyone fooled. Even me! He ends up capturing Jude and Anton with using chains forged with Godfire.
Jude has been gone from Pallas Athos for a while now (this running around after Hector is really cutting into his job duties), so Penrose becomes interim Captain of Hassan’s guard. Perfect time for her to show off her skills because the Witnesses decide to attack just then. They’ve cornered people in the temple and set it on fire. One of the acolytes dies. This acolyte happened to be in Hassan’s vision of how to defeat the Age of Darkness, but he was alive and well…this can’t be right. Maybe he’s not the Last Prophet after all? Oops, too late, one of the people in the Order is already telling the people of Pallas Athos that Hassan is their Last Prophet. Now, everyone will be counting on him to save them.
- What do you guys think is going to happen?
- If Hassan isn’t the Last Prophet, who is?
- Honestly, who was fooled by Ilya for a while there? — C’mon I know I can’t be the only one!
- What do you think Hector will do to Beru?
- Will Anton and Jude be able to escape from Ilya?
- Who is the Heirophant?
So many questions! Let me know some of your answers in the comments or some other questions that you want answered! I hope you all are having so much fun with this read along and I can’t wait to finish this out with a bang with you all! Don’t forget to check out @utopia.state.of.mind and follow along with her for Part Three!!