Review: The Twisted Citadel by Sara Douglass

I have to say that this book came at a most convenient time. I had all four of my wisdom teeth removed April 15th. (Yes, American Tax Day. I figured I should get all the pain over with at the same time.) A couple of days later I was in pain, unhappy with my medication and the fact I could barely eat. Or talk. Or sleep. I was impatiently awaiting Jim Butcher’s Small Favor to arrive from Amazon (more on that later). I’d already finished all four of the novels I’d purchased ahead of time, knowing I’d have not much to do but read while I convalesced.

Twisted Citadel is the 2nd book in what, if I remember correctly, will be a trilogy. Middle books are like middle children. They’re usually unobtrusive, yet puzzling, and in the end they tend to leave you surprised and a little bit impatient with their behavior. Who am I kidding? I don’t have children and I was never a middle child. That’s just the way this particular book makes me feel.

I have to admit that I was skeptical as to how believable Ms. Douglass’ could be in melding together what everyone had thought were two different worlds and what was definitely two entirely different plots. The Serpent Bride didn’t entirely convince me that the feat would be possible; yet with Twisted Citadel I’m starting to believe a little bit more. Axis, Stardrifter, and the skraelings seem to be meshing well with Darkglass Mountain and Elcho Falling.

In case you’re confused, this trilogy (termed Darkglass Mountain) is an attempt to merge the world found in The Wayfarer’s Redemption (also called the Axis Trilogy) with those found in Threshold and The Hanging Wall. It can get confusing if you haven’t read all the books involved, which I must admit I have not. While the Axis books were fascinating to me, I haven’t picked up the two stand-alones.

The tragedy of Maximillian and Isabel’s star-crossed love infuriated me in the last book. I thought we had another Faraday on our hands, and I was ready to be furious. However, I enjoyed and heartily approve of the direction this pair took with their relationship at the end of Citadel. I’ll stop there so I don’t ruin the ending for anyone; except to say that such a rebellious and courageous action is proof of an exciting third volume to come.

Overall, I believe Citadel does exactly what it was intended to do. It moves the story forward, provides hours of not-to-be-put-down entertainment and makes the reader impatient for the next installment. At the end of the day, I think that’s what any author could consider a job well done.

[xrr rating=3.75/5]

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