Narrator: MacLeod Andrews
Series: The Pillars of Reality #2
Published by Audible Studios on February 10, 2015
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Length: 12 hours, 54 minutes
Source: Personal Copy
Sexual Content: Kissing and references to sex
Reviewed by: James
It’s Book 2 of The Pillars of Reality, the exciting epic fantasy series written exclusively for Audible by New York Times bestselling author Jack Campbell!
Someone wants to kill Mari, a young Steam Mechanic in the Guild that controls all technology. She has learned that her world of Dematr is headed for a catastrophe that will destroy civilization, and that Mages really can alter reality for short periods. Someone also wants to kill Alain, a young Mage who has learned that Mechanics are not frauds as his Guild teaches, and that Mechanic Mari is the only person who can prevent the oncoming disaster.
Narrowly escaping death, the Mechanic and the Mage stay alive thanks to their combined skills, an alliance never before seen. But it becomes clear that both of their Guilds, the most powerful forces in the world, are trying to destroy them. Other powers, like the great Empire and a mysterious secret Order, also seek to kill or capture them, using every weapon from Imperial Legions to Mage-created trolls, dragons, and rocs.
Trying to survive and learn the truth about their world so they will know how to save it, Mari and Alain realize that the answers they seek may lie in the dead city of Marandur. But Marandur is guarded by the legions that have sealed it off from the rest of the world for more than a century. Mari and Alain's only hope may rest with the unseen Masters of Marandur.
I may be a little biased because Jack Campbell is my favorite living author, but I loved THE HIDDEN MASTERS OF MARANDUR. This book picks up about two weeks after THE DRAGONS OF DORCASTLE ended, and you’re thrown right into the action. The intense battle and action scenes are one of the places where Campbell’s writing really shines. There are a lot of urban and epic fantasy novels that make me cringe when I read their battles, but Campbell’s years of military experience help him write realistic battles.
Even though the battles are amazing, my favorite part of this book is the interaction between Mari and Alain. In the previous book, Alain and Mari only barely admitted their feelings to each other, so it’s great to see their friendship and relationship develop as they continue working together and saving each others’ lives. One of the things I loved the most about THE DRAGONS OF DORCASTLE was the fun and natural banter between Alain and Mari, and that banter is still in this book and maybe even a touch better. Though Alain is continuing to learn more about normal social interaction, he still makes slips every once in a while that will make you want to either laugh or put your head in your hands.
While they’re relationship continues to grow, it’s also fun to watch their individual characters develop. They have to remove their guild related garb and don the clothes of commons, as they run from both of their guilds. This allows them to see the world through the eyes of the commons when they interact with commons on an equal level. They both work hard to throw off the false teachings of their guilds, as they see what the world is actually like.
I love/hate cliffhangers just as much as anyone else, but Campbell hasn’t found the need for them yet in the Pillars of Reality series. Campbell ended THE HIDDEN MASTERS OF MARANDUR in a great place, where I’m dying to know what happened next, but without putting the characters in a life or death situation. I just have to hope the next installment comes out as quickly as THE HIDDEN MASTERS OF MARANDUR did. It will be an instant buy for me.
On the Audiobook:
Jack Campbell is in the process of getting the books in print, but until that happens the Pillars of Reality series is exclusively on Audible. And that’s okay because MacLeod Andrews does an amazing job narrating the series. MacLeod does an excellent job putting emotion into the banter between Alain and Mari, adding an extra layer of realism to the production.Series Titles:
- The Dragons of Dorcastle
- The Hidden Masters of Marandur
- If you’re looking for another book with a steampunk world and magic try The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson