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The Memory of Souls by Jenn Lyons

The Memory of Souls by Jenn Lyons
Book Name: The Memory of Souls
Author: Jenn Lyons
Publisher(s): Tor Books
Formatt: Hardcover / Paperback / Audiobook / Ebook
Genre(s): Epic Fantasy
Release Date: August 25, 2020 (US) September 3, 2020 (UK)

Epic stories—especially epic fantasy (the term “saga” is used for science fiction)—are known for their long narration. Epic fantasy stories consist of a slew of characters, layered and complex plots and subplots, and A LOT of worldbuilding—which often includes family trees and timelines of historical events. In the midst of these factors is the recollection of the characters and their journey(s) as they participate in what will change the course of the world for better or for worse. The first two books in Jenn Lyons’ A Chorus of Dragons series introduces readers to the world of Quur and all of the characters and all of the events building up to the main conflict. In The Memory of Souls—the third book in the series—all of the “heroes” and the “villains” have been reintroduced, and they seek to stop the other party from thwarting their plans.

There are four protagonists in this book. There is Kihrin D’Mon—whose story readers received in The Ruin of Kings—and Janel Theranon—whose story readers received in The Name of All Things. They are joined by Thurvishar D’Lorus—the son of an infamous necromancer, who was the last Emperor of Quur—and Teraeth—a member of the Black Brotherhood. After the events at the end of The Name of All Things, all four protagonists reassess the “real threat” when they realize it might not be Relos Var. These four “heroes” have been tasked by the gods to convince the vané, the last race of immortal beings, to perform a sacred ritual. It shouldn’t be too hard, except their enemies are trying to stop them, there are other threats to face—including dragons, and they are wanted criminals.

Several more characters are reintroduced in this narrative. First, is Senera who is still in possession of a coveted item. Next, is Suless who is one of the immortal wizards who wants vengeance for the treatment bestowed upon her by her former captors. Then, there is Talon, who reappears to carry out her tasks (whatever they are) by whomever hired her. Next, are the parents of the four protagonists. That’s right, the parents of Kihrin, Janel, Thurvishar and Tereath participate either to save the world or to destroy it. Last, is Relos Var, whose intentions have been revealed; however, he is no longer the only threat to Quur.

The Memory of Souls stands out because all the introductions have been made in the previous two books. Readers know who all of the characters are, and they learned enough of the world the author created so the story can continue. Yes, readers will need to recall EVERYTHING that happened beforehand, but it will all come back to them as they catch up with the characters and how their quests are all linked. It should be mentioned readers won’t be the only ones who will need to remember what happened in the past.

The style Lyons used in The Memory of Souls continues with the chronicler narrative. There are no longer just two narrators who are recounting recent events, but several characters who are offering their points-of-view and accounts of EVERYTHING that occurred in this book. It is essential NOT to overlook the chapters of these minor characters because they have knowledge the protagonists and the main characters don’t possess, which presents a complete account of the events. By the end of this book, many of the characters have made their decisions and chosen their “side.”

I believe the story being told by the author refers to the infamous question, “does the end justify the means?” Readers learn through the duration of the novel about the choices many of the characters make and why and how they came to making those choices without (too much) regret. These elements of grimdark not only present the story as being more believable, but also makes both the protagonists and the readers question: what else is going on in this world? This is proof neither the characters nor the audience comprehend the bigger picture and the reasons leading up to those events.

This book is the climax of this series. This is because both the tensions and the conflicts are revealed and clash amongst the characters who desire to see their plans reach the end. Readers start this book expecting one sort of story, but finish reading it with swirling minds and mumbling expletives. Yes, you will be shocked by the twists and the ending, which will make you want to delve into the next book in the series, The House of Always.

The Memory of Souls is the midpoint in A Chorus of Dragons series and the story takes off here because the introductions have been made in the previous books. Fans will appreciate the turn of events the author continues to present in her series. If you’re a fan of epic fantasy and you have not started reading this series, then I recommend you do so immediately.


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