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The Spider by Leo Carew – Spoiler Free Review

The Spider by Leo Carew – Spoiler Free Review
Book Name: The Spider
Author: Leo Carew
Publisher(s): Orbit (US) Wildfire (UK)
Formatt: Hardcover / Paperback / Audiobook / Ebook
Genre(s): Fantasy
Release Date: July 30, 2019 (US) June 27, 2019 (UK)

The Spider is the second book in the Under the Northern Sky trilogy. It starts closely after the events of the first book, The Wolf. Once again, we follow the main protagonist, Roper, as he tries to secure his position as Black Lord, as well as Bellamus, a highly intelligent Sutherner who aims to bring Roper down. The world is split between the Anakim in the north and the Sutherners in the south. These two kingdoms are in conflict and one of the main plot points focuses on the war between them. While in the first book the Sutherners were the aggressors, in this instalment the Anakim are the aggressors and invade the south. Like The Wolf, it is an epic fantasy with military fantasy influences, and is told using multiple perspectives. As this is a sequel, I will not be discussing the plot in any depth to avoid spoilers.

The Spider is split into two main plot points: the mystery surrounding a death at an Anakim school in the north, and the invasion into the south, which we see from both sides of the conflict. In this instalment, we get more intrigue and well written battle sequences. Carew is skilled at writing action scenes and they are one of the highlights of the series. His writing, however, sometimes falls a little flat in the quieter scenes, which occasionally results in uneven pacing. Having said that, I do think Carew is a great writer and you can see his growth between the first and second book.

The world is an interesting one, although it is nothing new in terms of the fantasy genre. Both the Anakim and the Sutherners are more defined in this book, though the focus is very clearly on the Anakim. We get to see more about their lives and spend time in one of their schools. We are also introduced to a new race, the Unhieru, although we don’t learn a whole lot about them. I hope we get to explore more of the world in the next instalment.

The Spider is a compelling story, although I did feel that it was a little predictable at times. There is a betrayal within the main protagonist’s inner circle. We are told who the betrayer is at the start of the book, but I think it would have been better if the reader had found out at the same time as the characters. It would have created a more suspenseful and mysterious atmosphere, instead I just felt frustrated that none of the characters figured out who it was, because it seemed so obvious to me. I enjoyed the mystery surrounding the death at the Anakim school and thought Carew did a good job at weaving this into the main narrative of conflict that started in book one. Overall, I enjoyed the continuation of the plot and I found it easy to settle back into the flow of the story, even though it had been a while since I read the first book.

While I thought the character development was well done, I did find the main protagonist incredibly frustrating throughout. He is supposed to be the leader of the Anakim and an intelligent man, but in my opinion, he didn’t act like one most of the time. He rarely listened to any advice given to him and just did what he wanted to do. I still think he is a good protagonist and Carew has done a good job at developing him from book one, but he made so many bad decisions in this book.

I did enjoy the development of the relationship between Roper and Keturah. The secondary characters are well written with distinct personalities and interesting back stories. I am intrigued to see what is in store for them in the third book.

Overall, I thought The Spider was great and I can’t wait to check out the final chapter of this trilogy. It’s not anything new in terms of the fantasy genre and I had a few issues with it, but it’s still well worth a read, especially if you enjoy fantasy with plenty of intrigue and military elements. And if you enjoyed the first book, then you’ll enjoy this one too. The third and final book currently has no release date or cover. I will definitely be picking it up when it is released—based on the publication of the last two books, it may be released sometime next year. If you haven’t started this trilogy yet, then I recommend checking it out.


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