books, reviews

Book Review: Dominion of the Fallen – Aliette De Bodard*

 

The House of Shattered Wings (Dominion of the Fallen 1)  The House of Binding Thorns (Dominion of the Fallen 2)  The House of Sundering Flames

 

Sneaking three books into one review today. The three books in the Dominion of the Fallen series are out now and I thought a review of the trilogy was the best way to share them with you.

The House of Shattered Wings

Paris in the aftermath of the Great Magicians War. Its streets are lined with haunted ruins, Notre-Dame is a burnt-out shell, and the Seine runs black, thick with ashes and rubble. Yet life continues among the wreckage. The citizens retain their irrepressible appetite for novelty and distraction, and The Great Houses still vie for dominion over France’s once grand capital.
House Silverspires, previously the leader of those power games, now lies in disarray. Its
magic is ailing; its founder, Morningstar, has been missing for decades; and now something
from the shadows stalks its people inside their very own walls.
Within the House, three very different people must come together: a naive but powerful Fallen, an alchemist with a self-destructive addiction, and a resentful young man wielding spells from the Far East. They may be Silverspires’ salvation; or the architects of its last, irreversible fall . . .

The House of Binding Thorns

As the city rebuilds from the onslaught of sorcery that nearly destroyed it, the great Houses of Paris, ruled by fallen angels, still contest one another for control over the capital.

House Silverspires was once the most powerful, but just as it sought to rise again, an ancient evil brought it low. Phillippe, an immortal who escaped the carnage, has a singular goal – to resurrect someone he lost. But the cost of such magic might be more than he can bear.

In House Hawthorn, Madeleine the alchemist has had her addiction to angel essence savagely broken. Struggling to live on, she is forced on a perilous diplomatic mission to the underwater dragon kingdom – and finds herself in the midst of intrigues that have already caused one previous emissary to mysteriously disappear . . .

As the Houses seek a peace more devastating than war, those caught between new fears and old hatreds must find strength – or fall prey to a magic that seeks to bind all to its will.

The House of Sundering Flames

The great magical Houses of Paris – headed by Fallen angels and magicians – were, however temporarily, at peace with each other. Until House Harrier was levelled by a powerful explosion. Now that peace has become chaos, tearing apart old alliances and setting off a race in which each House hoards magic and resources to protect itself against another such blast.

Thuan, the Dragon head of the divided House Hawthorn, is still consolidating his power when war comes to his doorstep. Aurore -exiled from and almost beaten to death by House Harrier – sees her moment to seek power in order to protect her family, even if she must venture back to her destroyed former home to get it. And Emmanuelle finds herself alone in the middle of it all, driven to protect others, trying to piece together what has happened, andhoping – eventually – to make sense of it all.
None of them know what destroyed House Harrier, though . . . and when they do uncover that fiery, destructive magic then divided Houses, old enemies and estranged friends will all have to make a decision: stand together, or burn alone . . .

My thoughts:

These books are incredibly well written and fascinating to read, trying to picture the Paris I know as the destroyed, twisted city in the series is interesting, and the diverse cast represent the author’s own heritage, with the dragons having come across oceans from Vietnam, once under French rule. Philippe, another refugee from the war in his homeland seeks to stay beneath the radar of the angels who clash in the city, but is drawn into their endless battles as a former immortal himself who can’t seem to help himself when it comes to saving not only his own community but other humans, even ones who can claim an angel’s protection.

I really enjoyed reading these, and seeing other cultures on the books’ pages, which often seems to get overlooked, especially in fantasy writing; which for a long time has been very white. This is starting to change and that means more amazing books to read by a much more diverse range of authors. I was a bit disappointed to realise there were only three books in this series, but I look forward to seeing what De Bodard writes next.

 

*I was kindly gifted books 2 and 3 by the publisher but all opinions remain my own.

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