Narrator: MacLeod Andrews
Series: The Pillars of Reality
Published by Audible Studios on July 14th, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Length: 12 hours and 7 minutes
Source: Personal Copy
Sexual Content: Kissing and references to sex
Trapped within the dead city of Marandur, Master Mechanic Mari and Mage Alain must escape both merciless barbarians and the pitiless Imperial Legion. Beyond those dangers lie the mightiest and most unforgiving powers in the world of Dematr: the Great Guilds that rule the world with iron fists.
Mari's Mechanics Guild and Alain's Mage Guild have always been enemies, but they are united in wanting to kill their rogue members before Mari can fulfill the ancient prophecy of being the one who will finally overthrow their power. Mari and Alain must risk those dangers because halfway across their world lies a place where truth has long been hidden. A place that could explain why their world's history begins abruptly, with no hints of what came before. A place where they might learn how the Mechanics Guild came to control all technology and how the Mages manage to alter reality temporarily. A place that might tell them how to achieve a task that appears to be impossible.
Never before have a Mage and a Mechanic worked together, and their combined talents offer their only hope. But she and Alain must first survive the deadly and implacable Assassins of Altis.
I feel like I need to preface this review with a bit of an explanation, since this is my fourth 5bat review in a row. Do I just absolutely love all the books I read? NO WAY! I listen to 3-5 books a week. Most of what I listen too are 3 and 4 bat books. However, it takes a decent amount of time and effort to write a review for a book. If I reviewed every book I read here I'd spend a few hours a week writing reviews. I'm not willing to do that for a bunch of average books. But a book I love is a book I will take the effort to review.
What does a book need to be 5 bats for me? 1. A book I will relisten to or reread. If it isn't good enough to read again then it isn't a 5 bat book. My all time favorite series is Jag in Space by Jack Campbell, I've listened to the whole four book series at least ten times though it is probably closer to fifteen. 2. It has believable and realistic characters, preferably ones that I can relate too. 3. A solid plot line that doesn't drag and doesn't have any holes. 4. I need to feel emotions of some sort. I want my heart to hurt when the characters have a falling out, I want to laugh at the jokes they tell, and I want to feel overcome with joy when they succeed or when they fail. 5. Uniqueness. That one isn't always necessary, but if the story is too similar to others it has to have something that makes it stand out for me to want to listen to it again. Now, finally, into the review...
THE ASSASSINS OF ALTIS starts right where THE HIDDEN MASTERS OF MARANDUR left off, and the action, romance, and political intrigue of the previous books continues superbly in this one. My number one fear for THE ASSASSINS OF ALTIS was that the plot would start to stall. I've seen this happen with a lot of books like this, but Jack Campbell clearly has the whole Pillars of Reality series thoroughly plotted out, because I never felt it stall.
Alain and Mari continue to search for more information about their worlds past, and in the end they find it. But this book isn't all about the search for information. The news that Mari is The Daughter is spreading like wildfire, and Alain and Mari have to do their best to keep the common folk from revolting before the two of them are ready. The commons aren't the only ones preparing for The Daughter though, Alain and Mari are starting to bring a small group of mages and mechanics together to unite against the great guilds.
In addition to all the things happening on a more global scale, Mari is forced to face a lot of her personal demons from the past. These demons have been holding her back from developing beyond a certain point, and it was amazing to see her conquer them. Even the second time I listened to this book I was brought to tears as Mari faced her demons down then took the proper steps to grow and develop.
Along wit the personal development, Alain's and Mari's relationship continues to grow and enhance. Another fear in a series like this is that the characters will have some stupid romantic falling out to cheaply increase the sexual tension between them. Thankfully, Jack Campbell is better than that. In THE ASSASSINS OF ALTIS Alain and Mari only grow closer as she faces her demons, and the friendly and romantic banter between the two of them is kept to the same standard of perfection and humor as it was in the last two books. I got a few strange looks at the grocery store when I laughed at a particularly funny line.
THE ASSASSINS OF ALTIS ends perfectly. Once again there isn't a painful cliffhanger, but I'm dying for the next book. Jack Campbell is putting these out much faster than most authors would, but it still isn't fast enough for me. The Pillars of Reality is rocketing up my list of favorite series, and may be giving the Jag in Space series a run for my all time favorite series.
Notes on the Audiobook: Though The Pillars of Reality books are now available as ebooks and paperbacks, I still think they're best when MacLeod Andrews is reading them. He does a fantastic job.
- The Dragons of Dorcastle
- The Hidden Masters of Marandur
- The Assassins of Altis
- If you’re looking for another book with a steampunk world and magic try The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson