Review: Paths of Lantistyne series
Title: The Empire's Ghost, The Rightful Queen and the Risen City
Series: Paths of Lantistyne
Author: Isabelle Steiger
Release Date: Third Book - December 20, 2022
Rating for Series Overall: 4/5 Stars
Find it here: Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
The Empires Ghost: The empire of Elesthene once spanned a continent, but its rise heralded the death of magic. It tore itself apart from within, leaving behind a patchwork of kingdoms struggling to rebuild.
But when a new dictator, the ambitious and enigmatic Imperator Elgar, seizes power in the old capital and seeks to recreate the lost empire anew, the other kingdoms have little hope of stopping him. Prince Kelken of Reglay finds himself at odds with his father at his country's darkest hour; the marquise of Esthrades is unmatched in politics and strategy, but she sits at a staggering military disadvantage. And Issamira, the most powerful of the free countries, has shut itself off from the conflict, thrown into confusion by the disappearance of its crown prince and the ensuing struggle for succession.
Everything seems aligned in Elgar's favor, but when he presses a band of insignificant but skilled alley-dwellers into his service for a mission of greatest secrecy, they find an unexpected opportunity to alter the balance of power in the war. Through their actions and those of the remaining royals, they may uncover not just a way to defeat Elgar, but also a deeper truth about their world’s lost history.
The Rightful Queen: The second book in Isabelle Steiger's epic fantasy series, which weaves together the lives of the haves and the have-nots--both desperately fighting to reassemble the remains of a fallen empire.
The Rightful Queen returns readers to the territories of Lantistyne. Imperator Elgar has brought war to the continent once again, and the rogues of the Dragon's Head, once forced into his service, are scattered to the winds, wracked by tragedy and struggling to reunite.
While a cornered King Kelken grows increasingly desperate, Arianrod Margraine, the brilliant but outmanned marquise of Esthrades, devises a plan to stretch Elgar's forces thin and turn the tide of battle in their favor. But when the sheltered queen of Issamira is driven from her throne by a long-simmering plot and the use of forbidden magic, Arianrod faces an even more pressing crisis.
Adora Avestri is more than the rightful queen of Issamira, more even than the key to defeating Elgar on the field--she has drawn the attention of beings older than Lantistyne itself, who possess hidden knowledge Arianrod has long desired. But if the queen and the marquise hope to survive long enough to learn it, Adora must find the strength to claim her birthright once and for all, and Arianrod must match wits and magic with a foe she has never before encountered: an equal.
The Risen City: Imperator Elgar’s dire strategy for conquering the continent has finally been laid bare, and those who would stop him must prepare to make their final stand. The surviving rogues of the Dragon’s Head are split in two: half help dismantle Elgar’s plot from the shadows of their home city, while the rest chase down rumors and revolts in the east. Valyanrend’s rebels and thieves have made common cause for the first time in centuries, but they form only half of the resistance necessary to challenge the imperator. For the other half, they must look to the continent’s remaining royals for a foreign army.
Unfortunately, most of Lantistyne’s royals have seen better days. King Kelken is imprisoned in Araveil, at the mercy of the brutal Administrator Selwyn. And Arianrod Margraine, the brilliant marquise of Esthrades, left her own country open to invasion when she helped save neighboring Issamira from falling into ruin. Now Issamira and Queen Adora, long neutral in this conflict, must take up the burden of war.
Adora has reclaimed her crown and found her conviction, but fights to keep her army on a just path amidst the violence she abhors. Together, she and Arianrod have already toppled one power-hungry usurper, but the two of them are separated when a reckless sacrifice puts the marquise’s life in jeopardy. And the ancient spirits of Lantistyne, whose subtle machinations helped Adora survive to gain her throne, are ready to make their will known at last.
My Review: I am reviewing the entire series because I struggled through book one but was very glad that I continued the series because I really enjoyed books 2 and 3. I normally DNF books that I am struggling through but I really enjoyed the world building in this one and the writing is lovely. The issue I ran into in book one was that there were far too many POV's. While there are often a lot of POV's in fantasy books this one had too many too early, which meant I didn't care about most of them. I will also note that this is a series where you immediately need the next book because everything is left so open ended. Books 2 and 3 were very well done. The characters were far more fleshed out and had a lot more depth and likeability. I loved the world building, the intrigue and the writing. If you're a fan of fantasies this is a series worth checking out!
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All opinions are my own.*