Lou: The Brush of Black Wings is a sequel novella that takes place a couple of years (I think it’s a couple of years!) after Master of Crows, which every fantasy romance lover needs to read. And Grace’s other books too because she is fast becoming the queen of fantasy romance–at least in my eyes. I was super excited to see Grace return to Silhara and Martise. Married life suits them very well and I loved seeing the banter between Gurn and the Master of Crows has not changed one bit *grins.*
I did find the beginning of the novella a little slow and it wasn’t until about 30% in that the story kicks off. But when it does, Grace’s magical writing shows and I found myself once again glued to the pages. Martise’s Gift never went away, and when she find herself walking into this old and very powerful ruined temple, it awakens her sleeping Gift and something else that’s very, very scary.
Has: I so agree with you about Grace Draven as being one of the queens of Fantasy Romance because she has such a gift with characterisation, and her worlds sweep me away. I was so excited to hear that she would be returning to the Silhara and Martise’s world. This follow-up was a great installment to their story.
However, I have to disagree with you about the slow start. I thought the action started right from the beginning, and I loved the opening chapters which illustrated how great Martise and Silhara were and it felt like revisiting old friends. I also loved the eerie and tense tone when Martise encounters the ruined temple, the atmospheric and vivid writing really sets the scene.
Lou: One of Grace’s strengths is her amazing world building and the characters she creates. The action with the Demon King was really spooky with the imagery she created. I was so freaking slow to catch on when I realised, wait, Kings? Wraiths? Wraith Kings? That sounds familiar. I know one of those words. Then BOOM. I thought of Stargate Atlantis.
Yes. I’m slow.
Then another BOOM followed. The Wraith King series! Radiance! Then I got super excited that Grace Draven had linked the two series. Martise is forced into this world where it’s neither living or dead. And things are not what they seem, especially with the Wraith King.
Has: Heh, you’re cracking me up! I also had a mental shout when I read that link, and I was taken by surprise on who the Wraith Kings were like. While Grace Draven added a few details and clues, it definitely left me wanting to learn more, especially the ending which had a few open threads and I hope she revisits those characters she introduced again with their own book.
I also adored the interactions with Martise and Silhara as well as Gurn and Cael. They’re cemented as a family which I loved. I especially enjoyed that Silhara still remained a grumpy git, yet he was so head over in heels in love with Martise, and when she gets taken by the demon king, he totally loses his control and that left me swooning.
Lou: He will rip up the world to save Martise and there’s something so inherently romantic about that–though a little scary. Silhara will endure so much pain for Martise and he was pretty kick-ass in this novella, though he remained grumpy while doing so which was funny. When he arrives in the place where Martise is held captive, he becomes ruthless which he’s not sorry for. I loved the new characters we met–don’t want to spoil anything–and I hope their story is continued because the end for them was bittersweet but also incredibly hopeful. Like Has said above, there are some open threads left and I have an idea of what one of those threads might be but I don’t wanna say incase I spoil anything.
The Brush of Black Wings was a lovely sequel to The Master of Crows and I hope Draven returns to the Master and Apprentice once again. I give it a B+
Has: I have a similar suspicion about one of the open threads and I hope we get to see that play out in the next book. The Brush of Black Wings is a fantastic sequel. The only negative thing I have to say is that I wished it was longer, but I was left very happy with this installment. The tense and atmospheric writing with a fabulous romance and unforgettable characters have made this series along with Grace Draven as one of my all time favourite authors.
I also give The Brush of Black Wings a B+