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The Licanius Trilogy #2

An Echo of Things to Come

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Zwanzig Jahre sind seit dem Ende des Krieges vergangen. Die machthungrigen Auguren, die einst unbesiegbar schienen, wurden von einer Allianz rebellierender Länder hinweggefegt und vernichtet. Andere Magiekundige werden seitdem strengstens überwacht - sie überleben nur, weil sie sich den Vier Gesetzen unterworfen haben, die seit der Rebellion gelten.

Der junge Davian leidet unter den Auswirkungen dieses Krieges, der noch vor seiner Geburt begann: Als Magiebegabter wächst er in der abgeschiedenen Festung Calenden auf, stets davon bedroht, als Ausgestoßener zu enden, sollte es ihm nicht gelingen, die Prüfungen der Administratoren zu bestehen. Und Davian verbirgt ein Geheimnis: Er verfügt über die seherischen Fähigkeiten der früheren Herrscherkaste - wird er entdeckt, bedeutet dies seinen Tod. Doch dann trifft er auf den mysteriösen Talean, der glaubt, dass Davians Fähigkeiten an den nördlichen Grenzen dringend benötigt werden, denn dort erhebt sich eine uralte Bedrohung, der nur die Auguren entgegentreten konnten.

752 pages, Kindle Edition

First published August 24, 2017

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About the author

James Islington

7 books4,546 followers
James Islington was born and raised in southern Victoria, Australia. His influences growing up were the stories of Raymond E. Feist and Robert Jordan, but it wasn't until later, when he read Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn series - followed soon after by Patrick Rothfuss' Name of the Wind - that he was finally inspired to sit down and write something of his own. He now lives with his wife and two children on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria.

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Profile Image for Petrik.
673 reviews42.7k followers
February 22, 2021
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An engaging, ambitious, and mind-blowing sequel filled with pivotal revelations; this series is on its way to becoming one of my favorite series of all time.

First of all, there’s a summary of what happened in the previous book, and there’s a useful glossary of characters and in-world terminologies at the end of the book. An Echo of Things to Come is the second book in The Licanius Trilogy by James Islington, and this installment vastly heightened the complexities of the series. Although it’s true that there’s a well-written recap, I do personally believe that this is one of those series that you should binge read as soon as you can due to the series escalating level of details, scope, and complexities. If I had waited, let’s say, a month before I tackle this one, I’m quite sure that I wouldn’t be able to enjoy this book as much as I did. For the past couple of years, I’ve heard several readers said they felt confused by the names and world-building of this series, and I can’t say I’m surprised. The complexities of the multiple storylines, timelines, and history of the series have increased significantly. Being a devout fantasy reader, I tend to find that not many plotlines in the genre to be unpredictable anymore—and I’m okay with it—but this series so far has wowed me repeatedly. Islington’s debut novel did feel like it borrows many elements from Wheel of Time and Sanderson’s books, I must say that his series has become distinctive from other fantasy series with the arrival of this book. Seriously, the plotting of the series has been utterly ambitious, daring, unpredictable, and thought-provoking so far; I’m sure the third book will be even more so.

“The lesser of two evils, or the greater good. Get a good man to utter either of those phrases, and there is no one more eager to begin perpetrating evil.”

The above quote signified one of the main themes portrayed heavily in An Echo of Things to Come, and I think Islington did it exceptionally well. Both in real life and fiction, “the lesser of two evils” and “for the greater goods” are two phrases that have been used for justifications of vile actions way too many times, often resulting in deaths or casualties every time. This novel isn’t full of battle per se, excluding the climactic final 60 pages of the book, Islington used the pages of this sequel to unveil the mysteries—at the same time raising more questions—surrounding the history of the world and telling politics that is rife with ignorance and prejudice. Don’t treat this as me saying that the book was boring, not at all, the progression of the plot and the character’s development was superbly done. Islington effectively used his characters to explore the dangers that may come with having utter faith in a belief, and it worked tremendously for both the characterizations and themes of the series.

“I’m telling you that you should doubt—as I do my own beliefs. The day on which you decide not to question what you believe, is the day that you start making excuses for why you believe it.”

The character developments that the main characters have gone through in two books have surpassed my expectations. The main characters have gone through a lot of difficulties and struggle ever since our first encounter with them in the first book. So much has happened, and Islingstons achieved a great balance in giving spotlights to the main characters. However, if I have to choose, what made An Echo of Things to Come so incredible for me was Caeden’s chapters. I found myself thoroughly impressed by what Islington pulled off here with Caeden’s storyline; the ebb and flow of the narrative in the past and present timelines of Caeden’s storyline are just brilliant. It was so good that if Islington somehow had decided to make this book an installment about him, I wouldn’t have minded. And it’s not like the other characters story weren’t compelling, Caeden’s story was just THAT good; the quality of his story which focuses on morality, redemption, choices, and beliefs are simply on another level.

“The people with whom we are friends should never affect our morality; rather, our morality should affect with whom we are friends.”

I had mentioned in my review of the first installment that I had some minor issues with Islington’s writing during the first half of his debut; I didn’t feel that here. There’s an immensely noticeable improvement in the quality of the prose; it honestly felt so much well-polished and less repetitive now. Plus, it’s not easy to write a high fantasy series as complex and massive as this trilogy; there’s a ridiculous amount of planning that goes into it, especially plotting and world-building wise. Not only we get to learn more about the character's background, the magic system, and the crucial missing pieces in the history of the world, there are also more prominent characters and elements now. I mean, there are Named Swords, Banes, Venerates, the ever-terrifying Tributaries, and many more. I wish I could tell you what all these cool things are, but for your own sake, read it and find out for yourself.

“The danger of evil, the purpose of evil, is that it causes those who would oppose it to become evil also.”

The fusion of mind-blowing revelations, characters to root for, complex plotlines, ambitious scope, and intricate world-building established An Echo of Things to Come as a stunning sequel to one of the most well-plotted series in the world right now. Additionally, the ending of this book was just jaw-dropping and brutal; the repercussions it has for the storyline will be gigantic, and I salute those readers who were able to survive the two years wait for the third book to be published. I loved this book even more than the first installment, that’s saying a lot considering how much I enjoyed the first book already. Many fans of the series have agreed that the third book is the best of the series, Orbit Books was kind enough to send me a review copy of the book two months ago, and my god you have no idea how excited I am that I finally can read it now.

You can order the book from: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository (Free shipping)

You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions

Special thanks to my Patrons on Patreon for giving me extra support towards my passion for reading and reviewing!

My Patrons: Alfred, Devin, Hamad, Mike, Miracle, Nicholas.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,460 reviews9,611 followers
October 27, 2017

This book was nothing short of awesome! Fantastic sequel to the first book and I look forward to the third book in the trilogy!

I'm loving this author, the world he had made and the characters!

Recommend to all fantasty lovers!

Mel ❤️
Profile Image for James Tivendale.
310 reviews1,326 followers
February 18, 2018
I received a review copy of An Echo of Things to Come in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank Orbit Books and James Islington.

The narrative picks up events one month after The Blinds' brutal assault on Ilin Illan which concluded The Shadow of What Was Lost. All of the four main point-of-view characters (Davian, Wirr, Asha, and Caeden) find themselves with very different objectives, however, all are hoping to put a stop to what could be an impending invasion beyond reckoning at the hands of a supremely powerful enemy should The Boundary at the edge of Talen Gol fall.

As Prince, and Northwarden of Ilian Illan, Wirr is dealing with political unrest and potential assassination attempts. Davian, an Augur who possesses once forbidden magic, has been sent on a mission to The Boundary with the aim being to stop it faltering and essentially keep it standing indefinitely so that the enemies and fabled monsters cannot make their way across to civilisation. Asha, a shadow, does lots of spying and espionage stuff but her mission is least memorable at the beginning. Finally, Caeden. Well, he's getting his memories back now albeit slowly, and normally at highly inconvenient times by meeting old acquaintances.

My favourite characters are the three friends, Asha, Davian, and Wirr and although they are still very much the same individuals we met near the start of The Shadow of What Was Lost, they have had to change drastically due to both personal and larger issues. The character development throughout the series, and even in this book in isolation is outstanding. The former college students paths do cross occasionally and I always loved their often brief conversations with the hidden subtext of "if only something utterly terrible wasn't about to happen and we could just, y'know, chat like we used to?"

Caeden is the most important character. Powerful beyond belief without often understanding how. He's searching for a legendary sword in the present. Half of his point of view narrative is him unconsciously falling into flashback sections. Initially, some of these were confusing when focusing on events from millennia ago featuring characters and places readers are not familiar with. It took me a while to get used to this but it perfectly reflects what Caeden is going through when refamiliarising himself with his previously hidden memories, and slowly fitting the pieces of the incomplete puzzle together regarding his often notorious past to recollect if he really was the person people are saying he was and also what he plans to accomplish going forward and whether it's on the side of right or wrong.

The narrative starts slowly and takes a few 100-pages to really get going. A fair amount of new characters are introduced or expanded on from the shorter almost cameo roles they had in the previous book. Andyn, Wirr's witty and mysterious bodyguard was a personal favourite. Certain side characters never feel as fully fleshed as I would have liked though and more often act as devices to point the main characters in a certain plot direction. The magic scheme is still enhanced and pretty glorious though and through Caeden's flashbacks we are given views of the phenomenal potential it can have as well as the history surrounding it and it's past users. For fantasy lovers who are looking to fill the gaps whilst waiting for Brandon Sanderson's next release then James Islington's phenomenal debut series should be their next purchase. The magic-system, world-building, and character-development are sublime. The pacing was slightly off for me here very occasionally but I criticised Oathbringer for the same reason and that's probably just my personal taste. This could end up being one of the best Epic Fantasy trilogies of the decade.

The final third sees everything speed up and previous complexities seem to make sense. There are a few tragic moments, unexpected deaths, and brief torture scenes. All the story ARC's conclude in an intense and exciting fashion that has led to me already asking Orbit for The Light of all That Falls as soon as they can send it! In addition, the ending has one of the best cliffhangers I've read in a long time. The epilogue in particular. After reading it three times to make sure I truly understood what had happened (...and I had), now I've spent the last three days thinking about the consequences, complications, and the inevitability of events to come as well as what we know about the world. This one ends with a bang!
Profile Image for Nicole.
731 reviews1,829 followers
September 24, 2021
I was supposed to BR this book with Hamad but unfortunately, 2020 decided it still has a few of its special surprises for me. I ended up reading it weeks later.

Spoiler-free (short) review even for the first book (I will only mention the characters’ names).

This book picks a short time after the ending of The Shadow of What Was Lost but unlike the first book, each character has their own “mission” this time. While I found the first fast-paced and addicting, this one was more complex and demanded more attention. This book truly shows what a brilliant writer Islington is. The intricacy of the world he created and its rich history is simply astounding. The recap was good (wish more authors pick that habit) but as Islington mentioned, it’s not enough.

The stakes in this installment are higher and our characters have much more difficult tasks ahead of them. We are also following different plotlines that serve the same purpose even if not always in a direct way. This book also diverged from the wheel of time (I haven’t finished it but it definitely feels like it). While the similarities in the first book were undeniable, Islington carved his unique own story in this book.

Caeden is still my favorite character. The time jumps were very handled. I usually find anything past related boring and uninteresting. Not here. The way they were told was easy (the easiest thing about this book if it can be even called easy) to follow. I also found myself enjoyed almost all parts equally. I usually look forward to one or two points of views in a book told from multiple perspectives (and while I liked all of them in the first book, Devian’s, for example, where my favorites, I didn’t have any here -Caeden not included because of his somewhat special arc).

I also loved the relationship between the Venerate. They’re not bad guys. Not the villains. It’s not that simple at all. They truly believe that what they’re doing is for the best, the good, for everyone (and not like destroying the world is good for everyone kind of way but actually improving it).

As for the infamous difficulty of keeping up with the book, I did my best. I paid attention, read slowly, searching for characters (ha not google duh, learned that lesson long ago). I managed. I didn’t find it impossible to keep up with even if I had read the book 2 months ago but it certainly needed my complete focus. I can’t binge read books, which is the recommended way to read this trilogy. I get tired and bored of the world regardless of how much I love the world. There was a time when binge read 4 or more books in a series. Sadly, not anymore. It’s a personal thing and not in any way related to the book quality. So, to be fair, I’m going to wait a month before reading the last book. It’s a shame since I heard that The Light of All that Falls is a lot more complex. But it's that or risking disliking the book because I read it too soon...
Profile Image for Hamad.
1,007 reviews1,326 followers
February 16, 2021
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“The people with whom we are friends should never affect our morality;rather, our morality should affect with whom we are friends.”

The Shadow of What Was Lost ★★★★
An Echo of Things to Come ★★★★ 1/4

I read The first book early in 2020 and the second book later toward the end of the year and I kind of regret that decision. I did understand most of book 2 and I thought it was even better than book 1 but there were a lot of small details that I missed and I think this is a series that should be binged or read as close as possible to each other.

I heard that book 2 was complex but I thought it had acceptable level of complexity, I found it kind of easier to follow than book 1 even! Maybe because in the time in between I read a lot of adult fantasy and I am now better at reading complex books. The beginning of the book has a summary of book 1 which is great, I love when authors include those in the books and I think if the author did not then I would have not understood the majority of the book!

The writing is good, I appreciated the writing style more than I did in book 1, just because I notice these things more now. I like Islington’s descriptions and although the books are huge, I think the size is justified and it is not one of those huge books that are big just for the sake of being an “Adult fantasy” book.

“The lesser of two evils, or the greater good. Get a good man to utter either of those phrases, and there is no one more eager to begin perpetrating evil.”

I like the different characters and I specially liked Wirr’s POV in this book for some reason. I think all well written but Wirr was someone I always cared about even from book 1! The criticism I had with this is that many of the character names and the places sounded the same and that made it a pain in the ass to follow sometimes!

I can’t say much about the plot but I can tell you it is a complex one, it includes time travel and shape shifting and characters with multiple names, it has a lot of things that indeed makes it a challenging read. This book needs a certain level of head clearness and the mood for something complex! There were fights and magic and all kind of cool stuff too!

Summary: I think this is a challenging book to read but it is worth it if you have the time! If you are a fan of time travel and epic fantasy stories then this is a must read for you. The characters are so complex and the writing is beautiful! The Epilogues are always the best thing in these books and they made me go WTF did I just read! I already read book 3 and loved it too!
Profile Image for Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller.
724 reviews1,202 followers
June 30, 2020
2020 Reread update: Even better the second time around! And that Epilogue... omg. Updated RTC.

[4.5 stars - Review of the first two books] What started out as a seemingly straight-forward classic adventure fantasy quickly evolved into a complex story with countless dynamics and twists & turns. I ended up liking it ten times more than I thought I would – it’s easily one of the best I’ve read this year.

I wouldn’t call this series an “easy” read, as it required more concentration than average, but it’s certainly worth the effort. I don’t pretend I always knew for certain what was going on when some of the time travel elements were introduced, but Islington quickly earned my trust in his ability to tell a good story and reveal things on a need-to-know basis. Instead of stressing about figuring things out, I finally just sat back and enjoyed the thought-provoking and entertaining ride.

The setting shared similar elements with series such as Sword of Truth and the Stormlight Archives, but they were integrated in a way that felt fresh and original. What’s more, I feel as though the author has barely scratched the surface of what this world has to offer in these first two books. I’m always a sucker for such in-depth world building, so I’m cautiously optimistic the third will blow my mind. It’s not just the world building that makes it unique, but also the overall atmosphere. The power plays and dynamics between the heavy-hitters in this series set an almost tangible ominous overtone. It was fantastic.

My only criticisms (which kept the overall rating from a solid five stars) are pretty nitpicky. The end of the first book had a lot of repetitive word choice that was noticeable enough to become distracting, and I think the pacing could have been a tad tighter. The second book had a bunch of flashback scenes which killed the momentum a bit. Even though the flashbacks usually advanced plot and built character, they made the book feel longer. However, what book two lacked in pacing it more than made up for with an absolutely killer ending. At this point I don’t think it’s fair we have to wait a year before the final book. ;P

Recommendations: As the Licanius Trilogy is responsible for some of my favorite reading experiences of the year so far, I’d recommend it to any fantasy reader who isn’t afraid of a slow-burn plot with lots of dynamics. My recommendation is especially strong to those who love the feel of classic fantasy but want something a little more complex.

Via The Obsessive Bookseller at www.nikihawkes.com

Other books you might like:
Elantris (Elantris, #1) by Brandon Sanderson Wizard's First Rule (Sword of Truth, #1) by Terry Goodkind The Heart of Myrial by Maggie Furey The Demon Spirit (Corona The DemonWars Saga, #2) by R.A. Salvatore The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1) by Brandon Sanderson
Profile Image for Deborah Obida.
673 reviews602 followers
August 30, 2019

‘The people with whom we are friends should never affect our morality; rather, our morality should affect with whom we are friends.’”

This series just gets better with each book, I thought this book will have the usual middle book syndrome, but I was wrong, this is so much better than the first book. While the first book focussed on introducing the reader to the world, characters and plot, this one used that build up and just continued the story. There were no unnecessary repetitions of things we already know. Every new revelation is mind blowing, I really enjoyed the way the characters adapted to each obstacle they come across.

One of the times I love about this book is the way each character is unique and has a purpose, none of them is a filler, they each have something important to contribute to the story.

The true evil is always in the reason and the excuse, not the act. I was fooled. I was angry. I wasn’t thinking. I had to do it, else worse things would have happened. It didn’t hurt anyone. It hurt less people than it would have if I hadn’t. It was to protect myself. It was to protect others. It was in my nature. It was necessary. It was right.”

Another is the magic system and world building, the author outdid himself, new locations just keeps popping up, especially in Caeden's memory. The way the magic is explained is just great. We also get to know more about the Venerate and their purpose and why Tal'kamar left their ranks.

The friendship and romance in this book is just perfect, none overshadowed the plot, they serve their purpose well. I adore the fight, either the ones with magic or the ones with just swords were nicely depicted.

Its been months after the attack of the Venerate and the Blind in Andarra. Repairs has been made in the capital, some idiots assume it's just regular people with armour. But Wirr, Asha, Davian and some others knows what actually happened and they also know its just the beginning of a big war. The protagonists are preparing and informing those who are willing that there is indeed a treat and the boundary won't hold for long.

"The day on which you decide not to question what you believe, is the day that you start making excuses for why you believe it."

Caeden is fast becoming my favourite character in this book, I liked him even before he got his memory back and I still like him now that he has. If I'm been honest I like him more now, he went to the extent of wiping his memories for saving humanity. Despite what he did in the past, he didn't let that define him. No one is perfect so I really like when a character has some dirt under their fingernails.

Ashalia called Asha by her close friends is a gem, the length she will go for what she believes in is amazing, I know that if I were to be in her shoes, I would refuse. But she went in head held high, for that I applaud her. I need people like her in my life.

She was just like the rest of them—willfully ignorant, passionately believing in something because she surrounded herself with people who also passionately believed in the same thing. He knew the type, now—those who found it easier to listen to people who reinforced what they already thought, rather than actually considering the opinions of those who didn’t.

Wirrander also Torin is having trouble keeping the administrators in check which is not surprising. Despite that he knows he is the best person for the job and refuses to give up, cause he knows what will happen when the boundary breaks. His job in this was to get the administrators and noble houses to send people to the boundary which is so not as easy as it looks.

Davin has the least job in the book, he and the other Augurs which include Ishelle, Fessei and Erran are trying to figure out how to repair the boundary permanently. Davian is more mature than he was, even with that he is still in touch with his humanity, killing is not his first option, I hope he does not change that side of him.

Nihim had called it the natural arrogance of man to want complete freedom, total control over their own lives.
The Venerate described its absence as slavery.
Profile Image for TS Chan.
698 reviews868 followers
February 26, 2020
An Echo Of Things To Come is an incredible sequel that keeps you invested in the characters, building the story with stunning revelations until you're sitting there staring at the last page disbelievingly, and desperate for the next and final book.

I sympathise with those who read An Echo of Things to Come way before the arrival of the concluding volume. I couldn't have imagine what it felt like to have to wait two years after an ending like that.  My review could only offer fairly broad strokes of why I think this book was so amazing; to say more would be to spoil it for others.   While I continued to notice influences from Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time, there was no doubt that Islington had managed to make The Licanius Trilogy completely his own.  It was inspired, but not derived.

Say what you will about James Islington, I'd say that the man has audacity. After reading two books of The Licanius Trilogy, I would consider it possibly the most ambitious debut trilogy that I've ever read. I'd even say that this is classic epic fantasy at its finest.  It is grand in scope and has a well-designed magic system, a fascinating world with its mysterious history and lore, well-written characters, and a complex but focussed plotline. The story never wavered from its primary plot.  Hence, even though An Echo of Things to Come felt like a middle book, it was an excellent one. It gradually sets the scenes and progresses the arcs of the main characters towards the world-at-large peril that was mentioned since the first book.

"The lesser of two evils, or the greater good.  Get a good man to utter either of those phrases, and there is no one more eager to begin perpetrating evil."

More importantly, history of thousands of years past were also gradually unveiled - events and moments which consequences brought us to this current storyline. It is complex, mind you, as the the there are many twists and turns along the way. But it was also accessible; information was not so much deliberately obscured but also not known to the main characters, so you learn as they did. The author also included a summary at the beginning of the book - both to recap the pertinent history which was made known in the previous book and the story so far. While there were a few more action scenes in this volume, it was definitely not the driving force in this series, and I found this to be a good thing for this particular narrative where well-crafted expositions and character arcs are more crucial than great action scenes. The writing was also noticeably more polished in this sequel, and I would expect that it'll keep getting better when we get to the concluding volume.

"We can't start mistaking what we can do for what we have the right to do."

All those above made a great book, but what made it amazing is how much I cared about the characters. We still have the four main characters, Davian, Asha, Wirr and Caeden, and each of their POV chapters were engaging to read. The first three young adults I've mentioned above have grown so much since the first book, and it's wonderful to see them holding their own as each of them had to face different challenges. Asha, in particular, had the most unexpected and interesting character arc in this book.

"It doesn't matter how wrong he is, so long as he thinks he is right. A man who believes is the worst of enemies. A man who believes is more dangerous than anything."

Now, we get to Caeden and this is where I was rendered speechless. Caeden's story was hands-down the most compelling of them all, and it packed some serious emotional heft. Every single one of his POV chapter was either heart-breaking or shocking, or sometimes both, as he regained his memories of who he really was. This also meant that there are a lot of flashbacks in this book, but I found each one to be necessary, interesting and important to really develop and flesh-out the characterisation of Caeden. I even had to take breaks after some of his chapters, to digest what I've just read and to recover from the emotions it brought forth. Without a doubt, he is my favourite character in the series for his arc was the most fascinating, captivating and emotionally powerful.

The Licanius Trilogy is well on its way to being one of my all-time favourites. The Shadow of What Was Lost started it off with a promise, that it will be one of the best debut epic fantasies I've read in recent years. An Echo of Things to Come reinforced that Islington would very likely be fulfilling that ambitious and audacious promise in a truly epic finish to come.

You can order the book from: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Book Depository (Free shipping)

You can find this and my other reviews at Novel Notions.
Profile Image for Stefan.
166 reviews224 followers
November 21, 2017
“The lesser of two evils, or the greater good.
Get a good man to utter either of those phrases, and there is no one more eager to begin perpetrating evil.”

Oh, just how entertaining this sequel was! James carefully scooped many interesting things from many interesting worlds across the fantasy genre, successfully molding all that into something of his own.
All those bits and pieces, only slightly teased or criminally undeveloped stories, legends and myths across all those fantasy histories - something author uses to expand the world itself or give another perspective on the matter - are a focal point of this book.

Those of you who’ve read Patrick Rothfuss's The Kingkiller Chronicle series remember probably (- or more like maybe - sadly it was a long time ago when those books were published, Patrick!) those little stories and legends author wrote in it for his characters to tell across the book. Be that tragic love story of Lanre and Lyra and Lanre’s fall from grace after her death, or about poor little boy called Jax who fell in love with the Moon so he chases her and builds the house tall enough to meet her and seduce her or many, many other, as of yet insignificant stories (since Patrick still refuses to finish that trilogy, Goddamn it!).
But, to me, those little stories, snippets and fragments of deep history and wider worldbuilding are the reason why I love that series in the first place. Alongside amazing Patrick’s prose, of course.
The point is: yes, I enjoy more reading about imaginary history and lore of the world than the plot itself.
So to read a book where thousand year old legends are factually a main plot of the book and driving force of it – like the case is with An Echo of Things to Come – is a pure enjoyment.

The story itself continues shortly after events at the end of the first book, with our protagonists now dispersing from each other on their individual missions, with singular goal – to find answers to strengthen Boundary, shield that protects realms of humans from ancient evil and demons alike.
Davian goes to Tol Shen, one of two remaining outposts of the Gifted, seeking support of any Augur willing to undertake the task of sealing the Boundary.
Wirr, now a Northwarden, head of Administration previously led by his father, fights political battles, which means low punches of those who undermine his authority.
Asha, a Representative of Tol Athian, struggles to endure in her endless efforts to help oppressed population of Shadows, since she is a Shadow herself.
Caeden, discovers how even obtaining portion of his memories can be as tormenting as the fear of not knowing.

And story around him is the reason why I had so much fun reading this book. Not his character, mind you, no. His character isn’t significantly better in the sequel; actually maybe he’s even slightly toned down. And probably many readers will find his chapters as info-dumps, which essentially they were, to be honest.
But I also think that was purposeful decision by author. To make him as a bridge to a final chapter of this series. It’s windy, and when you look down it’s not pleasant, but you need to cross it, so you could arrive to your destination.
There's clearly a message in those info-dumps, in that undeveloped characterization, there is a message of this entire series, I think.

“There’s a purity of purpose to redemption, I suppose. To being able to undo the things for which we hate ourselves. Especially when we are told that it is in the service of the greater good.”

The focal point of this series are memories. If you stripped off someone of their memories, you will undoubtedly stripped them off of their personality as well. Without memories of their former actions, no matter how moral or amoral they were, a person with cleaned mind is entirely a new person.
So how could you demand from such person to answer for any judgement and punishment for their former actions? You couldn’t.
An individual, with no memories of his former self, deserves a chance to build its life anew in order to redeem itself.
And like that wasn’t ethically questionable enough, author decided to play with moral ambiguity even further.
What happens if person whose memories are lost for quite some time – time in which he builds his life in its entirety differently than previous one – and starts to regain his old memories?
Does he still deserve right to keep his new life? And between his now dual personalities will he be able to choose which one to keep? Will he even notice, intoxicated by his change towards righteousness, if his old habits start to creep in?

Third book cannot come soon enough!
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 6 books3,962 followers
January 31, 2018
This author just made it to my total fanboy heart. I'm rarely this excited about new anything. I mean, I'm usually excited to some degree or another, but I usually reserve this kind of energy for authors I know and have trusted for years.

Welcome to my heart, Mr. Islington. :)

These characters are absolutely wonderful, from the great reveal at the end of the last book to the full-out disclosure and development of a certain beast character in this one. I love them all. It's true. Every single step of this story has been a real delight.

There's lots of magic, time-stopping fights, energy-draining epicness, an enormous amount of history and strife and memory-crunching reveals and even gods.

But more than that, the story is twisted. The magic is used almost like a hard SF tale, with complicated moving parts and some of the old uses are truly horrific. No spoilers, but once I started learning all about the barrier and the other land and so much of the high-magic-technology, I've been bouncing in my seat.

I wouldn't be surprised if these books didn't become as immortal as some of its main characters. :)

Joyfully, I have no issues with the directions taken in the middle plots. It was all fun and a delight to run in, even if it didn't propel the main story sequence in big parts. I was invested.

But most importantly, this is definitely going up there as some of my absolute favorite epic-fantasy series. You know, the ones with huge page counts, enough magic to choke nations, and a strife that spans millennia.

I'm a SUCKER for any book that goes BIG! Not just word count, but BIG IDEAS. :)
Profile Image for Scott  Hitchcock.
779 reviews224 followers
September 13, 2017
Book 1: 3.75*'s
Book 2: 3.25*'s

I still enjoyed this book and I'm still looking forward to book three however it did drag at points for me. Secondly I didn't feel like there was a ton of character growth which I like to see as the series goes on. Third there were just way too many flashback scenes. Some of them were quite good but after awhile it became tedious for me.

That said the last 20% had a great tension and was nonstop action. I think where all the players currently stand it sets up for book three to finish things off in style.
Profile Image for Gavin.
861 reviews392 followers
September 5, 2017
An Echo of Things To Come was another excellent entry into The Licanius Trilogy. It matched the quality of the first book in the series and helped cement the series place as one of my new fantasy favourites. Reading this series feels a lot like reading a Brandon Sanderson book with a little bit of Wheel of Time and X-Men thrown in to spice things up. It seems a familiar recipe but Islington makes it work and weaves an engaging and exciting story.

The story was just as exciting in this second book as all the POV characters had interesting story arcs. Davian and the other Augurs went to Tol Shen to work with the Gifted there to find a solution to the problem of the weakening Boundry. Wirr and Asha both stayed in Ilin Illan and had to deal with the tense politics of their new positions. Asha also had to investigate the mystery of the Shadows. Caeden continued to remember parts of his old life and had to deal with meeting a few more old "friends"! It all made for exciting stuff as Islington always throws in enough twists and turns to keep the reader on their toes.

The world building in the series is pretty good. I like both the setting and the magic. The magic system is especially interesting as there is two different types, Kan and Essence, plus a whole host of cool magic infused items that add in an extra dimension.

All in all this was another great read. Islington is fast becoming a new favourite authors of mine!

Rating: 5 stars.

Audio Note: Michael Kramer is one of the very best narrators and he gave an excellent performance of this one.
Profile Image for Choko.
1,196 reviews2,583 followers
May 23, 2020
*** 4.75 ***

Wow! My goodness! This series is getting better and better! I don't have the time to review right now, but I am completely invested in this story, and the world is getting more complete and easy to imagine. I am going to have a hard time not jumping straight into the next book, but I will find some remnant of willpower and stick with the schedule...

The direction we are going to - AWESOME 👍😃
Profile Image for Mayim de Vries.
577 reviews824 followers
August 7, 2020
“For all you have lost, you have not learned!”

Mr Islington posited himself between the future reveals and the past blank spots that piqued reader’s curiosity. Unfortunately, by doing so he set a perfect trap for this book because given the intriguing mysteries of what was and what is to come, who cares about the mundane now?

I was very grateful that the book starts with a summary of what happened in book one. The story is both dense and complex and so this recapitulation was helpful, especially that the events squeezed into one book, could easily fill some trilogies I know. Good news is that An Echo of Things to Come is also packed with turning points and developments. The bad news is that the flashbacks stretch it into millennia and so the pacing suffers, then dies only to be resurrected in the last couple of chapters.

“We can’t start mistaking what we can do for what we have the right to do.”

As before the narrative is divided: The whole Davian line is a snooze fest. The problem is that in the previous book we have had glimpses of the future Davian, and since then I have always been like: oh, just please, cut the pleasantries and get there, where we know you will. Not only is his story an unnecessarily long filler, but also it is essentially devoid of any real emotional entanglement (because how could I get the thrills knowing that he will get safely to where he plans to go where the fun is supposed to begin). For this reason, his loitering about and being busy with secondary plots was really annoying.

“Become the man the world needs, even if it is a man whom you despise.”

On the other hand, Caeden’s POV was just a trip down the memory lane. For the whole duration of the novel, Caeden remains a slave to his memories that come and go as they please and all he can do is to wait patiently for the next ebb and flow. The reader knows that at some point the protagonist must remember it all, and so we just turn the pages on until he does. Spoiler: he does only at the end. Before that happened, I was lost more than once and frequently I was impatiently just urging him to stop moping around and move on.

“Can a monster truly understand why another monster must be stopped?”

Sandwiched in between the two wonder-boys, Wirr’s adventures are surprisingly underwhelming given his key role and complex family situation. I have the feeling that we could get much more from him (and no, I do not mean his lame love affair here). Small wonder that I liked Asha’s arc the most. She is a feisty heroine, but also because she remains in the crux of the story, many things converge around her. Through her we witness a few interesting reveals including the history of the shadows, but not only.

“Sometimes it’s what’s right against what lets us win. Sometimes it’s what’s right against what lets us survive. But it is always a choice.”

This did not change the fact that all the time I wanted merely to get past the point of flashbacks and reach to those glimpses set in the future. Some mysteries are answered, true enough—but not in a way that affects the plot. This is coupled by minimal character development, as what had previously been set in motion, now rolls without further ado. Then there is the separate “wheel of time” motif of inevitability, and the prison of illusional choice and predetermination. Do our actions matter or has everything already been decided? I am afraid I cannot appreciate the convoluted angle offered by Mr Islington.

The subliminal messages, the indirect lessons about morality, and friendship, and sacrifice, the meaning of life if you like it, is something I appreciated the most in this instalment. The magic system and the worldbuilding also remained among the saving graces.

Nevertheless, I have to say that this book was worthy of reading mainly because of the epilogue. The remainder was somewhere between frustrating and tiring. Writing has improved but the breaths people do not know they are holding are still here. Luckily I did not hold mine.

Also in the series:

1. The Shadow of What Was Lost ★★★★☆
3. The Light of All That Falls ★★☆☆☆
Profile Image for Kitty G Books.
1,551 reviews2,936 followers
September 6, 2017
* I was sent this for free from the publisher *

This book is a highly anticipated sequel to The Shadow of What Was Lost which was a stand-out read for me when I read it back in April of last year. I have to admit that I was a little skeptical of whether this one would be as good as the first, because book #1 I read as a self-published story and this is now being published traditionally, but it did not disappoint and I still found that I really enjoyed this once I got back into the word.

I do admit it took me a little time to re-establish who was who in my mind and I found it a little difficult at the start, however, once I was abouyt 50+ pages in, it all started to click into place and I remembered why I had enjoyed the first one so much.

We have four main characters in this book, Davian, Wirr, Ashe and Caeden. In this book they all start out with their own distinct storylines and plots right from the start, and as they are spread out we get to see a lot more of the world as a whole and the different people scattered around it.
As the story goes on we do see many of these characters coming back together and trying to fix the woes of the world. There's plenty of problems right now in the land, not least the Augers return, the boundary breaking and death threats all around. We also have one character who is still not really sure just who he is and how he fits into everything, which makes for some grey-areas in the motives too.

One element I do really enjoy about this world is that it feels incredibly fantastical. Magic is a key part of the world, the people within, and the problems they face. Augers have some extraordinary abilities, and we also have the Gifted and the almost god-like beings too. There are abilities to do with slowing time, magical weapons, being able to influence one another, being able to tell truth from lies etc. Pretty much all the magic is very cool, even the evil parts of it which strike with vengeance and terror at our heroes.

This book definitely ends on a cliffhanger once more, it makes me want to dive into book 3 (which, let's be honest will probably not be out for ages!) I definitely felt like once I was halfway through the story it all started to ramp up in intensity and become a lot more high-stakes and drama-filled (which I very much enjoyed).

Overall I felt that this was a very solid continuation of the series and it remains one of the true 'good old' fantasy tories I've seen published in recent years. I have to admit I like the fact that this is updated enouhg to have women as cool characters, but it still retains the escapist feeling of Jordan, Tolkein or Sanderson :) 4*s overall
Profile Image for Jody .
201 reviews133 followers
August 3, 2020
Another enthralling installment in this trilogy that is quickly becoming one of my favorites. If the finale can live up to these books, this could make my top 10 favorite series of all time....possibly top 5. If you're a fantasy fan, you have to get your hands on this trilogy. Like NOW!

Actual Rating: 5 stars *****
Profile Image for Robin (Bridge Four).
1,606 reviews1,480 followers
February 23, 2020
James Islington has grown as a writer from his first book The Licanius Trilogy. I thought that perhaps this was not going to live up to my enjoyment level of the first book and was pleasantly surprised that it not only was as good as The Shadow of What Was Lost, but surpassed it. An Echo of Things to Come takes what we learned in the prior book and builds on it in interesting ways. Sometimes what you think you know/believe is so wrong it destroys you when you learn the truth.
“The lesser of two evils, or the greater good. Get a good man to utter either of those phrases, and there is no one more eager to begin perpetrating evil.”

This is an epic tale spanning millennia if you take in the full scope of the story. We learn who/what Caeden really was as he starts to remember things from his past that he hid from himself. Every memory he relives shines a new light on the overall story and why Caeden made the choices in his past that led to his decision to wipe all his memories of the past clean and come through the boundary. He is trying to hold on to this new version of himself as every new revelation shows him the lengths he went to in the past and the atrocities committed for his cause.
“A friend of mine once told me that when I got my memories back, I would have a choice. That no matter what I’d done, who I’d been … that I had a decision to make, moving forward. That the man I have been since I woke up in the forest, the one I want to be, doesn’t have to be erased by what I remember. Shouldn’t be erased.”

There is a lot going on in this story and none of the PoVs were superficial of just filler. Every moment and character is needed for the tale and you need to pay attention because there is a lot going on and while there are some clues along the way I was gob smacked by a couple of the twists in the story, especially the epilogue. It once again through me for a huge loop.
“I’m telling you that you should doubt—as I do my own beliefs. The day on which you decide not to question what you believe, is the day that you start making excuses for why you believe it.”

Wirr is trying his best to be the North Warden when almost everyone on the council is trying to undermine him because he is also gifted. Wirr has grown a lot from the first book and how he is handling himself and those poised against him shows he was taught well how to be a political creature.

Asha has a more interesting storyline this time for me. Still a shadow she is on a mission to discover where all the other shadows in the city went after the battle in the last book. She also has had a run in with a few of the Venerate and learned some interesting things. I do like the woman she is becoming. Finding out what the shadows really are was just wow. I didn’t see that coming, but it made perfect sense.

Davian is again at the center of some rather large happenings. At Tol Shen he is trying to convince the gifted to go north to the boundary to start to put it back together again. But there is pushback, fear and some other augers standing in his way. We get to see just why all the augers were feared so long ago.

So much happened in this book and a lot of the most important reveals came from the memories that Caeden is reliving. Nethgalla was the most interest new character explored. The shapeshifter’s history with Caeden especially is very interesting to say the least and messed up.

An Echo of What Was Lost is aptly named as the true history of the world is revealed and so much of the lore is explained. This ended with everyone in a lot of danger and Caeden devastated by his last memory. I do wish that the only relationship I’m really rooting for got more page time. Davian and Asha could have a great love story eventually if they ever get to be in the same place for longer than a day of two. The devotion the two friends show for one another even while separated it adorable if slightly unbelievable. Still here is hoping in the end they get a future, right now that is not looking very hopeful.

Can’t wait to finish out this trilogy to see where the next story takes us.
Profile Image for Constantine.
831 reviews131 followers
November 24, 2022
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ ½
Genre: Epic Fantasy

This sequel was 718 pages long and stuffed with events. Lots of things happen, and it is so difficult to give a proper synopsis without spoiling book one. One of the best things this book has, and I think every sequel book should have one, is a summary of all that happened in the previous book. This will help you refresh your memory if the gap between reading the first and second book is too long.

Like many other epic fantasies, The Licanius Trilogy seems to be complex, but in a good way. The world-building in this installment gets expanded, and this time our characters reach the boundary. Like the previous books, there are multiple perspectives, and this time even multiple timelines, especially in the case of Caedan, who keeps remembering his past actions.

The author has done a tremendous job with character building, and the main characters continue to show growth and development. This is an important thing, at least for me, when I read a high fantasy story. Still, when I think about the two books, I think I loved the first a little more. Don’t get me wrong, this one is a fantastic follow-up, but the first remains a favorite. Part of the reason could be that I felt the main protagonists were together most of the time. Even the events from the first book had a stronger impact on me than the ones in this one. The flashbacks that Caedan was having, despite being interesting, were slowing the pace for me.

Everything else was just amazing. The new characters introduced are awesome, be it Asar, Isiliar, Gassandrid, or Geladra, whom for some reason I kept imagining as the actress Judith Light. I’m not sure how the series will end, but this book’s ending was satisfying. And I’m so excited about the last book.
Profile Image for Krista Hansen Welch.
85 reviews9 followers
October 23, 2018
The second entry in the Licanious Trilogy is just as good as the first. The intricate plot with all its twists and turns kept me hooked all the way through! I love how all the plot threads (past, present, and future) are starting to come together in such interesting ways. The world-building in this series is just phenomenal. I’m in awe at the variety of locations and rich history of Andarra. Islington’s world is definitely epic in proportions and on par with great authors like Sanderson. The characters are all fascinating as they wrestle with making the right decisions and sacrificing their own desires to save the world. Also, while most of the characters are male, I do appreciate that Islington writes strong independent female characters (something that many male fantasy authors struggle with).

However, I did feel there were several times I was confused. There were still a lot of names and terms to keep track of. The flashbacks, in particular, were often confusing as they would throw you into a scene with no context and were usually shown out of order. The rules to the magic system also seemed unclear. I wouldn’t have minded a bit more explanation throughout the book.

Overall, though, I really enjoyed it. And wow…..THAT ENDING!!! That was crazy! How am I supposed to wait so long for the next book after that?! I need it now!
Profile Image for Peter.
680 reviews47 followers
May 4, 2018
That was one hell of a slog. I was bored for 90% of this book and considering that it's 750 pages (or 26.5 hours for the audiobook), that's a lot of time to spend fighting to pay attention. What the first book did well, in my opinion, was create interesting characters and put them in an interesting world that was filled with a healthy dose of mysteries where things actually happened. This sequel, however, focused way too much on the mystery aspect, so much so that everything else seemed to take a back seat in favour of sloooooowly unravelling the million little threads of the story.

Most of the characters didn't get as much development as you'd expect from a long book as this. One of the characters has a hundred flashbacks, so while those definitely change him, they also introduce so many other people, places and events that it all gets a bit confusing after a while, especially since they don't happen chronologically. The other three main POV characters have their own little adventures with their own band of secondary characters who admittedly are fleshed out quite well. However, after a while, it becomes hard to keep track of everyone's revelations and piece them together into the larger picture. Either through my boredom or stupidity, the sheer amount of vague information and enormous cast of oddly named characters eventually made the story a pain to follow.

The writing was still pretty solid in general with elements like the dialogue and descriptions consistently being believable without going too far. However, the amount of effort put into creating scenes where one of the protagonists only learns a small portion of information became very apparent quite early on. There were also a noticeable amount of cases where characters got away from situations where it made no sense except to have a 'showdown' later on. In fact, thinking through most of the memorable events in the book, I can't help but see how contrived most of them were. There were a handful of interesting scenes where something actually happened, but those accounted for about 10% of the book, with the rest of the time feeling like I was being lectured to about the history of everything or being monologued to about how conflicted each character felt about something.

Giving this book a 1-star rating feels a bit too harsh since I didn't exactly hate it. I was just exceptionally bored through most of it. The last few chapters brought some life back into the story since things were finally happening again, but by that point, I was a pretty much beyond caring anymore. I think the author ended up wanting to add too much and no one was brave enough to tell him things got out of hand and got to the point of it all feeling unnecessarily convoluted. Then again, most people on Goodreads seem to like this book, so maybe I'm just the moron and should go back to reading Dr Seuss books. Either way, I'm recognizing a sunk cost and not planning on finishing the series.
Profile Image for Jim Robinson.
76 reviews18 followers
February 25, 2021
Another 5* beauty from James Islington

An Echo of Things to Come took the great story laid out for us in The Shadow of What Was Lost and really notched up the stakes about 10 fold. Characters now know who they are, or at least what they are potentially capable of, and the end game starts to take shape. Thousands of year old planning and arc revelations start trickling through as the staggering breadth of what Islington has built here starts to take shape.

Can we pause on that for a second? The World Building in this series is Immense. I cant recall another series aside from Sandersons Cosmere or Erikksons Malazan series that rival the scope and planning that has gone into this. You are talking about 4 thousand years of history and all the actions and reactions of characters who have been around for all of it. Throw in time travel and characters with powers to shape past and future and its really impressive to say the least.

I have one minor gripe Mr Islington, you seriously have too many characters with names starting with 'A'! Couldn't we have made it slightly easier for the slow ones in the group (myself included here!) to follow who is who?

Aelric, Aelrith, Asar, Ashalia, Aarkein, Alaris, Andrael and then you have Augurs, Administration and Andarra.

I mean some of them are obvious, I get it, but the whole Aelric, Aelrith, Asar, Alaris, Andrael thing had my head spinning so many times trying to recall who was who and did what to whom! OK rant over, your books are awesome, ignore me.

If you have read Book 1 then stop reading and pick up book 2 immediately! The wise Petrik told me 'You have to binge read this trilogy' and he is dead right. There is too much immensity in the plot and scope here to have breaks. You need to press on dear friend!

If you haven't read Book 1 then also stop! Go pick it up right now! What are you waiting for?

On to Book 3 for me and I admit to some early nerves about not only how its going to come together but to the obvious Book hangover this potentially will leave in my life, its that good.
Profile Image for Eric Allen.
Author 3 books732 followers
September 8, 2017
A book does not need to be perfect to please me. An author does not need to write like a champion to entertain me. If the story is good, the world in which it takes place detailed and memorable, and the characters decent, that's usually all I really need or ask for. The first book of this trilogy was not perfect. The characters, though likeable enough, were a little on the generic side, and the writing was a little amateurish in places. It was James Islington's first published work, though, and for an author's first published work, it was a pretty good effort, and I had no problem overlooking the deficiencies in the writing and characters as lack of experience as a writer. No one is a master of their craft after their first success. One could say that the road to becoming a master only begins with that first success. What I look for in follow up books from decent first time authors is this. Did they improve? Did James Islington? Yes. He did. Quite a bit, in fact. I was actually surprised how much he improved. I reread the first book a few weeks ago in preparation for this one, and the difference between the writing in the two is very apparent.

Is An Echo of Things to Come a flawless book? Certainly not. But it is a pretty large step above the first book in terms of writing, characterization, and in the scope of the story. But, again, the author improved, and looks like he will continue doing so with future releases, the story was enjoyable, and the world in which it takes place is very well put together, and rather fascinating. The characters have a lot more personality this time around, and feel more like actual people feeling emotions, than place holders giving the required dialog at the required times. The author took the story and the characters to the next level, rather than puttering around doing meh for the entire book like you see in the second volume of trilogies a lot of the time. What the author did right, far outweighs what he did wrong, and he shows signs of being eager to improve with experience. And so I can easily forgive the books flaws, as they do not really take away from the story much, and I can see that the author is learning and growing as a writer.

One thing I do warn about is that this book does not hold your hand. It does not recap events from the previous book, or repeat any explanations given there either. It reads like it's part of the same book, heading straight into things. Frankly, after rereading some of Terry Goodkind's books, where at least 15% of any given book of his is recaps of previous books, and explanations we've already gotten 7 times in other books, I rather enjoyed the lack here. However, it has only been a few weeks since I read the first book. For anyone that hasn't touched it since its release you may want to google a detailed plot summary. There are quite a few characters, and plotlines carrying over from the first book, and you may often find yourself asking what's going on, or who were these people again?

All in all, I quite enjoyed this book. It has a less wordy, Wheel of Time-y feel to it. It's a fun read that went by pretty quickly once I finally found the time to sit down and have at it, and I can't wait for the last installment. This is an author whose career I'm pretty excited to follow from here on out. New fantasy authors are a dime a dozen these days, but GOOD new fantasy authors are few and far between.
Profile Image for portihieri.
34 reviews7 followers
February 19, 2023

Trochę momentami przeciągnięta i przedramatyzowana, ale znacznie lepsza od 1 części, bo od początku wiadomo już mniej więcej o co chodzi.
Profile Image for Maja Ingrid.
448 reviews131 followers
September 12, 2020
LMAO this reread took waaaayyyy longer than I thought. My plan was to have the reread and the third book done by mid-to-end of august and here we are at the second half of September. Just this one took over a month to read, while it should have taken a week (first read of it took 4 days). Life got in the way.

Not gonna write the review I had hoped to write for it, since I didn't write one last time either. Will try to get a proper one up for book three *fingers crossed*
Profile Image for Anish Kohli.
182 reviews257 followers
February 7, 2022
“The lesser of two evils, or the greater good. Get a good man to utter either of those phrases, and there is no one more eager to begin perpetrating evil.”
For the first time in my reading/reviewing life, I will start a review with a declaration: Barring a monumental failure in the final book of this series, I can safely say that this is THE BEST epic fantasy series that I have EVER read. This will be one of my favorite series of ALL TIME!!

Glory be to you, James Islington!

I have so much to say about this book that it makes me feel lost as to where to even begin and how to do justice to this amazing piece of art that I hold in my hand and in my heart! But this is what I do wanna say right here at the start of this review: This book (and series) is a PRIME EXAMPLE of Epic Fantasy, a genre I love so damn much!

You have my heart, James Islington!
Now just bring it all home in the finale and give me my fav new series of all time, please! Pretty please!

I feel, to a great extent, that you can see the author’s growth as a writer in this book compared to the book #1. The writing is pretty great. It has all the ebbs and flows that were needed to carry such a book (series) with decent flair and then some! It captures the atmosphere and keeps it simple for the most part but it can also become very refined and beautiful when needed. The author can easily switch gears in his writing and make you feel a rush, making it all fast paced. I think I have absolutely no complaints in this department!

I have never, ever, in my years as a reader, seen an author subvert the expectations like this dude has! Holy crap! I mean AWESOME-SAUCE! Let me quote a small excerpt from MY OWN review of the first book in this series to clarify what I mean:
“The plot is your fantasy story must have type. Evil forces are at work again and a chosen hero must help the world fight back. But then there is so much nuance to this basic plotline that it turns out as refreshing, if not original or brand new.”

Like… could I be any more wrong? The answer is:

Most of what I could tell you about the plot is either a spoiler for book #1 or it could be construed as a spoiler even if it is not one as per me so I am in a fix on that front. But trust me guys, so much is happening and almost all of it is subtly trying to subvert that statement that says that this is a rehashing of a typical fantasy story! I felt it pushes back on the stereotypes to the point where you do not even have a “Chosen One” and will even make you wonder who the heck is even your protagonist & the end of this book would not leave you with a clear answer bcz everyone matters! The plot gets more rich, more mysterious, more complex and more awesome even though it is still mostly the predictable kind of a plot where you know how it’s going to unfurl but it’s the execution that will keep you invested.

I think what I said in my review of book #1 regarding the Characters was pretty accurate. I just had a feeling even in book one that we might not get a very well-developed character arc in this series, and it would seem that I was pretty darn correct. Don’t get me wrong, none of the characters are mediocre or under-developed. Infact, the character work is more than just okay but there don’t really seem to be any meaningful arcs, you know? These are people and they are who they are. We get their back stories and their motivations clearly, well mostly, but it’s not a journey with the characters is all I am saying. And as long as a character makes sense, their reasons and motivations are making sense, I can run with them without any problems. Not every author can be like Robin Hobb, after all, can they? This book, keeping in line with the theme of the series, is more plot focused and driven rather than character driven. And while that’s not a bad thing at all, I still think this is also an area where the author could put more focus in his next series, maybe? On the whole though, this section is a weak point of the book and the series.

I wanted to see this dude grow, do bigger and better things after the kind of exposure and insights he got in book #1. While he does grow and does a few bigger things but it is not a major step up that you’d expect in a trilogy. I would have wanted Davian to be a bigger power figure than he is currently. He’s still reacting to things which is a small let down, in my opinion.

This guy, I feel, is the one who’s grown the most as far as I am concerned. He’s gone from being a simple student and Davian’s best friend to so much more. He’s trying hard to settle into his new role despite all the hurdles and he’s consistently trying to do the right thing, even when it’s not easy. I like how Wirr’s coming along.

Miss Daredevil is a character who keeps me on the fence. Mostly I am on her side but at times its not that easy considering how and why she is doing certain things, and some of those said things are HUGE things. I think Asha might be the most unconvincing character in town in terms of her motivations and that makes her bland. Not to mention that her reaction to some things was downright irksome.

Ah this one….this is the one! This is the character that lifts the whole character work up a notch all by himself. Not only is his backstory amazing but also his reactions to everything that he is discovering, new and old, make perfect sense! His backstory at a point had me reeling from his loss and during the whole of the journey, my heart ached for him! I think Caeden is an amazingly well-crafted character with an extremely solid backstory. And personally, I feel that crafting Caeden so well meant cutting something out from the rest of the characters in the series and I think in retrospect it makes sense to me, atleast. I hope it does to y’all as well.

>>The Venerate:
Can’t really tell you who this group of individuals are but trust me you’d notice them! The only reason I put them here in this section is bcz of the way the author has handled them even during such short page time. They make their presence felt and they even feel like a cohesive unit when they make their presence as a group. Really savory!
“The people with whom we are friends should never affect our morality; rather, our morality should affect with whom we are friends.”
Magic System
Remember how I asked for more of magic in my review of book #1? Yeah…I got my wish in book #2 and not like how I imagined. While it was glorious, the use of the magic system is very complex! Since the start of the series, the magic system has been divided into 2 separate systems: Essences & Kan.
While the usage of Essence was fairly simple and Kan less than intuitive even in book #1, this book took them both to a whole new level of complexity, especially Kan! The way it is brought to the front and center, while is very impactful, it is still complex enough that you won’t be able to wrap your head around it in the first go atleast. It makes for a very engaging and fun magic system which, I believe has so much more potential to be explored in the last book.

I am of the opinion that the Kan side of magic serves as a more softer magic system and works to the advancement of plot but even so, it doesn’t take anything away from the fact that this is THE MOST INTRACATELY DESIGNED magic system I have ever read and come across! And I say that despite having read something like Sanderson’s Mistborn, which had an amazing Magic System. But that’s exactly the point, or so I feel, Sanderson’s magic system was not only cool in what it could do but also easier to implement and explain to a reader. What James has developed, while it seemingly has no limitations, is a magic system that is intricate and is hard to explain to the reader, even if it makes perfect sense to the author. When you read it, you will feel that Kan is a plot furthering device, which it definitely is, but it is also something with more layers than is being explained to the readers. Or so I feel!

Problem Areas
The problem areas that I had in book #1, which were a little mis-founded to begin with, were thoroughly addressed and bettered in this book and that is something commendable. However, this book had a couple of issues of its own and both of them are spoilery in nature so I won’t say too much.
First issue is that I was irked by a character decision made by Asha. The way she just up and accepts something was not something a person would do, especially considering that the circumstances at the point were not even that dire. It should have been handled better no matter what.

Second issue is with the timing of Isiliar being where she was in the sequence with Asha doing some recon work. The timing of that doesn’t seem in line with the timing of Isiliar confronting Caeden. And post that we’re never given any hint if that was before of after the said confrontation. So, for now, that seems like a loose end and I do hope that it gets tied up in the last book. Keeping my fingers crossed!

Overall Impact
I am BLOWN AWAY with what I have read! It would be criminal to not remark on the AUDACITY, the sheer audacity in attempting such a complex story and magic system for your debut book series! This particular book (and the series thus far) has been an executional masterpiece for me, a high that I have not yet had in my reading life. This book, and series, is woven together so tightly and so masterfully, it shines through no matter how you look at it! The book might not be the best in so many areas but it definitely is THE BEST woven story I have read!

This is the first book in which the themes and social commentary have been so much to the forefront, almost to the point where it serves as the plot itself. Or maybe it is the state of the world currently, and especially in my own country, that made this so much more impactful or bigger part of the book than it actually was intended. Even so, I think it is very well handled and woven in the story.
“There is only one reason to be passionate about a lack of faith—and that is fear,” said Caeden quietly. “Fear that you are wrong. An innate need for others to share your opinion, so that you can be less afraid.”
The sections with Caeden’s recollections were so strong and intriguing that I lived for them, not to mention how well placed they were. They gave so much perspective about not just Caeden himself but also the world. His actions, even though monstrous, showed that his intentions weren’t, which makes it even more sad and impactful! I love how each and every recollection elicited such genuine reactions from Caeden, all of them grounded in reality.

And finally, I ABSOLUTELY LOVE how the Prologue from book 1 has tied into every thing that’s happened thus far! It is amazing in and of itself but the tie in of the Epilogue of this book with the Prologue of book #1 is just plain awesome and indicative of more detailed story that is yet to come! Like I said, this is the most intricate and tightly woven series that I have ever read and a insanely ambitious project undertaken by the author. Mad Respect!

There is just so so much to love in this book with the way it’s handled being the middle book and still remained a very SOLID entry that only levelled up all things, setting a grand stage for the finale! I go happily to the final book, with my fingers crossed and my heart brimming with hope of falling in love with this series! May it be so! Bring it home, James Islington!
“Sometimes it’s what’s right against what lets us win. Sometimes it’s what’s right against what lets us survive. But it is always a choice.”
Profile Image for Maisha  Farzana (on hiatus).
551 reviews216 followers
May 4, 2022
So much happened in this book! But now when I look back and think about it, I realise none of those events were memorable; nor could they capture my attention.

I loved the first book of the series, "The Shadow Of What Was Lost". That book was too long, too complex and slightly flashy at times. I still really enjoyed it. To be honest, The Licanius Trilogy is probably the most dense and intricate fantasy trilogy I have ever come across to. There are always too many things to stomach. The world-building can be opaque and very desprictive at times. There are so many names and characters. Overall, this trilogy is very very complex. Yet I loved the first book because of the amazing characterization and whirlwind of interesting twists. But this instalment? I really didn't like it. It was so disappointing.

Islington squeezes too many things into this book, lots of them are unnecessary. Caeden's flashbacks stretch into millennia and so the pacing suffers, then dies only to be resurrected in the last couple of chapters. Not only that, all of the characters lose their charm. They literally felt extremely uncharacteristic, uninteresting and two dimensional to me. The author spends so much time in constructing the world that it started feeling pretentious after a while. No offense, I love good world buildings and unique magic systems but GIVE ME SOMETHING MORE. Specially the characters development could have been a lot better. I am character focused reader. So it really really disappointed me.

Overall this book was very underwhelming. I think I am done with this series. I can't do anymore.
Profile Image for Chloe.
374 reviews82 followers
May 15, 2023

This was a successful second book in a trilogy. It didn't suffer too much from the dreaded second book problem that a lot of series do, and I did end up really getting into this. The last third of the book was particularly great and action-packed. The characters are well-rounded enough, the world-building and magic system are fascinating, and the writing is both easy to read and well-crafted; this isn't a difficult series to read in terms of the writing style.

I found a few aspects of the plot a little bit confusing, but I think that's sort of the point of a series like this that plays with time and fate in the way that it does.

Also, I listened to the audiobook (wonderfully narrated) and it did make me notice some things I didn't love about the writing - for example, he used the 'let out a breath he didn't realise he was holding' line more than once, and characters incline their head a bit too often for my liking, I'd rather see the wording switched up sometimes so it doesn't become so noticeable.

I fully enjoy this story and where it's headed. I know the final book will bring everything together and be very epic and emotional!
Profile Image for Audrey.
82 reviews36 followers
March 12, 2020
An echo of things to come is the sequel of the amazing first entry of the licanius trilogy and what can I say except it totally lived up to my expectations as I thought it will be.
James Islington is an exceptional writer and while his writing reminded me again of the stormlight archives books I think nonetheless he has an unique voice to spin his own story. And what story I ate the half of the book in two days because this story is really enthralling and James Islington proved his skill to manipulate his characters and the multiples plots. Sometimes things might seemed obscures but fear not the author always explained in right time where he wants us to go.
This story is so driven I can’t stop to think about the whole meaning of the licanius story and some themes stand out like the lost of love , friendship and faith in something you thought it was right...

The story begins right after the events of the first book , the capitale of Andarra barely recovered after the invasion of the blind and we can say a lot of changes is happening. The tenets had been changed and more an amnesty legalize the existence of the augurs. Of course not everyone is happy about the change of the tide and the characters will have to face new challenge.

Davian is the character I felt the author had improved the most. No more the young boy always second guessing everything, we have a young man mature and conscious of his powers. No more winning and more action. The boundary worried him but he needs to learn to master his powers and work with his fellows Augurs.

Wirr must face new responsibilities in this book and as his secret is out not everyone is happy about his new position. In the first book Wirr was mature for his age and circonstances force him to step up more. Sometimes we have the feeling that Wirr is talking about real danger but everybody around him is deaf.

Asha is still a driven character and still willing to face dangers in order to discover some truths which aren’t meant for her ears.

Caeden is I believe the backbone of the book everything is lying on him. In the first book we wanted to know WHO he was and in this book we learned WHY. His motives are multiple and the lot of flashbacks helped us to discover so much more until the last page.

I know that some people might find this book like a big maze in which they get lost quickly but even though at the moment things seemed like a big riddle the meaning always comes.

Now I want to know how James Islington will finish his tale so I’m going to pick the last book up.
Profile Image for David S Meanderings).
325 reviews86 followers
March 4, 2021
“I’m telling you that you should doubt—as I do my own beliefs. The day on which you decide not to question what you believe, is the day that you start making excuses for why you believe it.”

I am currently buddy reading this series with Eleni from Late Night Books and Sam from The Book In Hand book blogs. If you are not following their blogs please do as they are fantastic bloggers with great content!

An Echo of Things to Come starts out not too long after the first book’s explosive ending. I don’t mind time jumps as long as they are done right. However, I am glad Islington took the route of starting pretty close to the end of the first book. This story has plenty of action and intrigue, but it is at its heart a character driven story and I think starting this way served the development of those characters best.

Speaking of the characters, this is a story with multiple POVs. Islington continues his trend of making each character’s POV interesting, meaningful, and engaging. My favorite POV was Caeden’s again as in my opinion he has the most interesting story and best character development, but Davian, Asha, and Wirr are also characters that were a joy to follow.

This was a slower paced book that suffered just a bit from middle book syndrome. There was so many important things that happened and so many reveals that were needed to set up the 3rd and final book. That’s actually what this book is best described as, a setup book for the finale. However, Islington did this so well and everything felt so important and purposeful that it didn’t end up being a large hindrance to my enjoyment of the book itself.

Within these pages you will a large amount of worldbuilding. We learn more about the Venerate, tons about the events of Caeden’s past, more about El and Shamaeloth, the Boundary, and quite a few other things as well. There was a lot packed in this story and I thought Islington struck a pretty good balance between showing and telling the information that we needed to know in order to move forward in the story.

Overall, this was a solid book 2. Although I didn’t like it as much as I liked book 1, I still really enjoyed myself and am excited to finish this series with The Light of all that Falls!
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