May Contain Spoilers
Okay, so, ugh, this series is not my cup of tea. That thought that I had after reading the first volume? You know, when I thought that William Tell’s son would be the protagonist and lead the brutalized populace to victory? Nope, didn’t happen. This installment is yet again a mish-mash of the Austrians beating, torturing, raping, and hanging the hapless citizens of the Alps. Only that bloodthirsty prick Wolfram manages to glide unscathed from one gruesome chapter to the next, and I didn’t like that. I don’t like him, and I don’t like the way this series makes me feel. Talk about a downer.
Some of the downtrodden in Wolfsmund bring about their own downfall, like the couple from the first two chapters of volume 2. Hans is an older pub owner, and Eva is his vain, lazy, air-headed wife. She refuses to sleep with her husband until he proves that he’s a real man, and oh, yeah, buys her a ring for every finger she possesses. Better for him to have just cut off 8 of her digits, thus saving himself from a lot of discomfort. Things don’t go too well for Hans when he sells out the local rebels he overhears plotting in his pub. When his idiotic wife struts around town decked out in her new jewels, the gig is up. Everyone knows that he’s sold out his friends, and Hans and Eva must flee. Did I mention that things don’t go well for them? Considering that nothing goes well for anyone, I am not exactly being remiss leaving that out.
Next up is Cedar and her daughter Juwel. They are traveling performers, and Cedar has some serious anger management issues when it comes to caring for her daughter. She’s such a winner I was counting down the pages until Wolfram got his hands on her. What I wasn’t counting on was the abuse he would subject on Juwel. Believing that Cedar had a hidden message for the rebels, Wolfram orders that every orifice be examined on both females. Really, guys? How I wish I could unsee what I saw. Another UGH, only with capital letters. Wolfram really does make the Lannisters (A Game of Thrones, in case you aren’t reading or watching that happy show) seem like fun, easygoing people, the kind you want as neighbors so they can invite you over for a BBQ. Have a couple of beers, slaughter a few annoying party-crashers, but at least they wouldn’t turn on their guests…..yeah, yeah, that was the Freys, not the Lannisters.
I started thinking that Grete, the proprietress of the inn, would be the series’ recurring character, but NO! Even that comfort was foully ripped from my grasp. We are left with only Wolfram, and frankly, he’s not interesting enough to keep my attention for an entire series. So far, he has been a one-dimensional psycho who loves to inflict pain and suffering on others. Like I said, so not my thing, so if you’ll excuse me, I have to go wash the residue from this read out of my eyes. Oh! NOES! I have one more volume in my review stack – do I wash my eyes out before or after I read it??
Grade: NFM – Not for me!
Review copy provided by publisher
From the back of the book:
By no means the exclusive province of oppressors, base callousness also inspires some rebels, while those who don’t care for political struggles are no more saintly in this installment of the searing feudal saga.