4.5 stars. The first Ile-Rien book was fine, an entertaining fantasy story, but this one is on another level of sophistication. Compelling characters, the right amount of tension, lavish descriptions, complex relationships, clever world-building, mature romance just hinted at, top-notch storytelling and a hard-to-crack mystery.
Absolutely recommended. This story shares the Ile-Rien setting but it stands perfectly alone; there are a few spoilers about the previous book, so if you plan to read the [b:The Element of Fire|367334|The Element of Fire (Ile-Rien, #1)|Martha Wells|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348390178s/367334.jpg|357332], pick that up first, but do read this one afterward because it’s not to be missed!!!I want this sorcerer because I want him, there’s no altruism about it. He has challenged me, he has interfered with me, and I’ll see him in Hell if I have to escort him there personally.