The Forked Path, by T.R. Thompson, is Book 2 of the Wraith Cycle. I highly recommend that you read Book 1, The Blood Within the Stone, before jumping into Book 2. This second book picks up not long after the first one ends, and there is an assumption that readers will already be familiar with (most) of the characters.
It can be really difficult to write a book review about the second book in a series without unintentionally revealing spoilers. I’ll try my best to avoid mentioning them.
In the first book, Wilt was using the type of magic that a wielder uses. This magic was used by the Black Robes in Redmondis. In short, welds are used to get into other’s minds. Wilt’s friend Higgs is a crafter. They create objects that enhance their weilder’s abilities.
That said, there were times when Wilt used older magic, of the kind that had been forbidden. It was a magic that connects to animals and the trees in the Tangle (a place that often includes danger). Without giving away any spoilers, at the start of this book, Wilt has been using the older magic for what might be too long a time-span.
Some of Wilt’s friends are traveling with him – but not in the way you might assume. There are conversations that happen amongst them, which could involve everyone or just a few of them. At times, Wilt’s friends are the only ones keeping him from delving too deep into magic.
The Tangle was mentioned in the previous book as a scary place that was dangerous to enter. In this second book, it is as though the Tangle has had enough of the humans. Those who enter now risk death. Nearby towns also face the wrath of nature.
In the meantime, back in Redmondis, those who survived the end of the first book are trying to change the way that magic is taught. There were originally three groups of students: weilders, crafters, and guards. Under the guidance of a man who knows quite a bit about the old ways, these three groups combine to learn from each other.
There are also some new, and very interesting characters that have been added. One is a very young being who seems to belong to the Tangle. Two others are much older people who have continued to use the magic of the old ways, the magic that had been forbidden. Wilders can do things that most Weilders cannot. It comes at the risk of losing themselves to the wildness of that type of magic, in part, because they eventually become more comfortable in their wild form than their human one.
A small group is sent from Redmondis to a very large city, in an effort to speak with the King. A weilder, a crafter, and a guard take an unusual form of transport, and have to fight their way into the city. Once there, they discover that the … I’m going to say “battle”… that recently happened also negatively affected the city they arrive at.
Without giving anything away, I will say that some of the loose ends from the first book are resolved. Some of Wilt’s friends, who had traveled with him, find different paths to take. The party who went to the large city are young people who are unsure what they are supposed to do and are troubled by the amount of displaced people who all hope the city can hold and house them.
Somewhere in the mix, a plot is hatched by a man who wants to become empowered. The decisions he makes end up affecting Wilt, who must use his magic to save himself from a very dire situation. There are times when I was convinced that Wilt was one of the “good guys”. Unfortunately, it appears that he is falling into the same risk as the wilders – and might end up losing himself. There is a strong temptation to allow the magic to satiate its hunger.
Several of the characters are grieving the loss of loved ones. I found it interesting to see how each of them tried to cope with that loss in their own way. A few of them get reunited with the person they lost, but in situations that are not the same as before. This is a story where people are struggling. It is also a story of people who, despite everything, find the path they were meant to take.
The Forked Path – by T. R. Thompson is a post written by Jen Thorpe on Book of Jen and is not allowed to be copied to other sites.
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