*Potential for spoilers due to this being a full series review.
I received free digital copies of these books from the author in exchange for an honest review on the series.
It has been years since his brother’s accident. Kefier was only just beginning to live a normal life–at least, as normal as it could get for a mercenary from a run-down town. And then an errand goes wrong and he finds himself holding his friend’s bloody corpse. Already once branded a murderer, he is pursued by men he once considered friends and stumbles into the midst of a war between two mages. One bears a name long forgotten in legend; the other is young, arrogant Ylir, who takes special interest in making sure Kefier is not killed by his associates. The apex of their rivalry: a terrible creature with one eye, cast from the womb of a witch, with powers so immense whoever possesses it holds the power to bring the continent to its knees. Now begins a tale with roots reaching beyond the end of another. Here, a father swears vengeance for his slain children; there, a peasant girl struggles to feed her family. A wayward prince finds his way home and a continent is about to be torn asunder. And Kefier is only beginning to understand how it all began the moment he stood on that cliff and watched his brother fall…
Enosh, apprentice to one of the richest merchants in the Kag, is secretly heir to a broken line of mages. Because of The Empire of Dageis’ quest for sources of the agan–the life-source that mages use for power–his people have been reduced to scavengers, his culture diminished to a speck in the wind. For more than ten years, he has helped raise a conjured beast to use as a weapon against the Dageians. But Enosh’s plans are falling apart. A powerful enemy has escaped and Enosh needs to capture him before he reaches Dageis. His quest is further complicated after he finds himself used as a pawn by Gasparian nobles.
On the other end of the continent, Sume, daughter to a Jin-Sayeng hero, must return to her roots to save her country and bring honour to her father’s name. To do this, she must befriend a prince and understand the terrible, corrupting nature of power and the reason her father was driven to walk away from it all those years ago…
Meanwhile, Kefier, Enosh’s agan-blind brother, is forced back into a life of violence. As he struggles with the notion that hands, once bloodied, never stay clean for long, he finds himself occupied with an unexpected burden: his own brother’s daughter.
The battle at Shi-uin has left scars. The rise of Gorrhen yn Garr to power seems unstoppable. As nations fall, the lines between love and duty become blurred and Kefier, Sume, and Enosh must learn to live with the choices they have made.
The Agartes Epilogues is an epic fantasy series that focuses on the minor characters as opposed to your typical heroes, villains, princes, myths and legends. Set in a world full of culture, The Agartes Epilogues follows a series of characters as they attempt to rid their world of a magical creature who is being used by one man for his own personal vengeance. In amongst all of this danger, heroism, and adventure is a story that touches upon love, family, loyalty, right, wrong, guilt, revenge, and so much more!
I really enjoy character-driven fantasy series so I was immediately intrigued when Villoso contacted me about this epic fantasy. Sometimes when you’re reading a fantasy, you start to question who those minor characters are and their past but you never get to see it as the novel focuses on the heroes out to save the day. In The Agartes Epilogues we follow a series of characters who are lowly as opposed to well-off. The characters are very well fleshed out and are all PoC, perfect for those looking for a diverse fantasy series as Villoso takes inspiration from European and Asian cultures not just in his characters, but in their cultures and their way of life. However, though these characters are minor with little ranking in the world, they play a big part in protecting their world and, over the course of the series, see themselves rise to be heroes – even if it is only known to themselves and those directly around them.
I found with this series that the general plot, character development, and writing got progressively better with each novel. In Jaeth’s Eye, I found myself a bit confused as to the direction of the story finding their adventures to be more about spontaneity as opposed to having any clear path forward. Towards the end of the first novel, it became clear where each character’s journey was heading and how they were likely to be interacting with each other as we learnt more and more about each individual. With that being said, the plot itself was definitely intriguing and I loved the concepts involved alongside the magic system used for those adept at magic. It is easy to understand and well-thought out making the task of understanding dialogue and action regarding the magic system a lot easier to get a grasp of.
The characters themselves were just perfect and made the whole series for me! Taking inspiration from a variety of cultures helps to provide an array of different characters with eccentric personalities. We had witty characters, bold and brave characters, emotional characters, ruthless characters… There was no end to the different types of people that you meed within The Agartes Epilogue and I thoroughly enjoyed each one. I particularly became attached to Enosh and his quick-witted humour and backchat and the dialogue between him and various characters, in particular Kefier, Sume, and Sapphire. I loved each character in their own little way as they all truly contributed to the progression of the novel and the overall feel of each scene. They were well thought and fleshed out, and all too human!
It’s hard to say a lot about a whole series without giving a lot away. If you’re interested in action, magic, adventure, humour, romance, scandal, revenge – it’s all in this series. It’s a very character driven series that likes to zone in on the characters thoughts and feelings and how events around them are affecting their lives, how they wish they could change pasts or done something differently. There is so much going on you can’t help but become embroiled in all the mess created by specific characters and you find yourself smiling along, especially with Enosh’s witticisms. I really enjoyed this series, and I hope that there may be more to come(?), or even some spin-off novels. There are varying characters that I would love to know more about, as well as characters that are no longer alive and I would love to know about their lives more thoroughly and how the world came to be how it is in the present day.