I’m featuring three reviews of Merchant of Alyss, from Susan Essary, Stephanie Herron, and Eddie Gilley.
Merchant of Alyss is book 2 in the Legends of the Realm fantasy series. Book 1 is Emissary.
Susan Essary, on Goodreads:
“If you love a little mystery, romance, battles, and magic, woven into a captivating story, then you will enjoy this book immensely, as I did.”
Stephanie Herron, on Goodreads
Before reviewing the Merchant of Alyss I went back and re-read Emissary (Book 1 in the Legends of the Realm).
This second installment is just as enthralling and so well written that I am not conscious of the words, just completely engrossed in the world and the story (which for me is a mark of great writing, as too often I become distracted from a good story by the pedestrian writing).
The locations in the book are so evocative that I felt as though I was there – looking into desolate valleys, walking in the bazaar or riding a camel in the scorching deserts.
The world building is wonderful, and integral to the story, rather than overwhelming the reader with details, and the focus of the story is the people – some we met before such as Hyam and Joelle but there are also newcomers such as Shona, Fareed and Selim (among others).
What I love about the story is that these characters feel like real people – they have real depth and the struggles they face are not only against the evil they are opposing, not just physical battles, but internal struggles with their own emotions – temptation, guilt, disappointment, grief and anger, as well as excitement over success and developing new skills.
Hyam gains some surprising new allies as well as experiencing devastating losses and struggling with the need to sacrifice personal desires and feelings (even at great cost) for the greater good and the chance to succeed in the battle against evil.
I have just finished re-reading Merchant for the second time and this series is now definitely ranking very high on my list of favourites.
Eddie Gilley’s blog:
If I were a mage and had an orb, I would point it at Thomas Locke and blast him right now half way across the world!
Not because I am disappointed in the writing of the second book in the series, Merchant of Alyss, but simply because he hasn’t finished the last one yet and the ending of this one is just not right!
I won’t give up the ending, but let me just say that I don’t think you will be happy either for the same reason. The anticipation is too much to endure. The story is too great; we must have the conclusion!
Merchant of Alyss picks up the story of the hero Hyam after the conclusion of the first book, Emissary. In the second book in the series the reader meets some new characters and continues to learn the stories of many of the characters in the debut book.
As usual, those characters are well developed and contain complexities that make them lovable and intriguing.
The plot is woven delicately through their stories or maybe the intersection of their life stories forms a perfect plot.
There is romance, adventure, magic, and intrigue in Merchant of Alyss. If you really engage in good fiction, then I doubt you will be able to put this book down for long. Each chapter leaves the reader longing for the next and to discover what is just around the next ridge or beyond the next vale in the journey.
The thing I like most about the writing style of Thomas Locke is that I don’t read the book, I imagine the story. I see the colors, feel the air, cower in fear, and relish in the life that is described on the pages.
I read The Hobbit when I was in high school a long time ago and wondered if they could ever capture that on film. I was not disappointed when it finally was released. I feel the same way about the series being released by Locke. I know how I imagine the characters would look, but I hope one day that I will be able to compare my vision with the realized image on the big screen.
There is no need to read the first book in order to understand the journey the second takes the reader on, but if you haven’t read it, I think you will want to after completing The Merchant of Alyss. I would be willing to bet that if you read this one, you will be pre-ordering the third in the series as soon as you put down The Merchant of Alyss.
Oh, and Thomas, if you don’t hurry, there might be more than one orb blast coming your way!