The Name of All Things by Jenn Lyons

Didn’t enjoy it as much as the first book but it was still a good read.

The ‘present’ part of this book is set three days after the events of the first book, however the vast majority is flashbacks from a few years before the events of the first book and gradually overlapping those events until it meets back up again. This book focuses on Janel, who was briefly mentioned in the first book, and her companion Qown, and is told in alternating viewpoints.

I get why the first book was told in alternating viewpoints but it doesn’t work nearly so well here. Firstly this is a much more linear story in that it is a straight-forward account of how Janel and Qown end up in the tavern with Kihrin. There are no different time periods apart from the main one. Secondly Janel and Qown are together almost the entire time, and though it is interesting to get his POV on events, the main focus of the whole book is on Janel so it almost seems pointless to have the two alternating viewpoints. The snarky footnotes are now provided by Senera who we get to know during the course of the book.

I am not a huge fan of how sometimes author’s completely change the narrative of a series. It is not fully the case here but there is a major element of it. In essence the main story has been paused in this book. There is progress right at the end but basically the whole book is a flashback which is to flesh out Janel. Now she’s a likeable character, and so are her companions, but I’m not sure we needed this big book to do so. There is some good overall knowledge gained of the main players, particularly Relos Var and the Gods and the nature of what’s actually happening, but I just felt a lot of is could have been condensed down or removed all together as I don’t think it’s going to have an impact on the main story.

There were some great bits to it. The story moved quick enough and some parts of the first book that didn’t make much sense are a lot clearer now. I liked the new characters introduced, Senera in particular is very interesting, and we got to know a lot more about Relos Var who definitely has more significance than I imagined from the first book. I did enjoy this but parts of it felt like filler until we could get back to the main story. It didn’t put me off the series though, the author has a very accessible writing style (occasionally comes off a bit flippant but it doesn’t bother me too much) and I am very much looking forward to the next book.

3.5 stars rounded up

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