I love Charlie N. Holmberg. Perhaps you’ve picked up on that, given that I’ve done more blog posts on her books than any other author XD. But in case you hadn’t noticed, there it is. I love her work and intend to read every single novel she ever writes!
Today I’m writing about her Numina Trilogy: Smoke & Summons, Myths & Mortals, and Siege & Sacrifice. These three novels, set in the dark and industrialized Dresberg, follow Sandis, who is a “vessel:” an unwilling member of the occult, used as a host to summon ancient spirits from the ethereal plane into the physical world. After crossing paths with Rone, a thief for hire, the two band together. In their quest for mutual freedom, not only must they go up against Sandis’ former master, the terrible Kazen, but also the governing authorities and the local mob. Eventually, all must join together to battle against the ultimate evil – but the hidden truth behind what’s coming is something that none of them ever expected.
Hopefully, that description was just intriguing enough to pique your interest, without giving anything away ;-P. This series was extremely well-written with fantastic imagery. But… it felt slow. Maybe that’s because of my reading pace; 20 minutes only twice a week makes for a long read on any book. Still – the first two novels seemed like just a warm-up for the third. The two main characters, Sandis and Rone, literally spend all their time running and hiding for all of books 1 and 2. Nothing much happens beyond building/ breaking/ rebuilding of trust – which is great for the romance part of the story, but doesn’t do much to move the rest of the plot along. You don’t even learn the full scope of the evil that’s coming or the real truth behind the “occult” until the last book. The question I found myself asking was, “Will the ending be worth the wait?”
The short answer is: yes! The ending is hard-won: they fight (and sacrifice) dearly for it. The solution that’s needed to overcome the looming evil arrives at the last moment (of course) and ultimately, it’s not anything “new” or “different” – it’s just a matter of using what they have in the right way at the right time. Yet by the time we get there, both the characters and the audience are so desperate for resolution that the answer, while simple, is still a great relief. The monster is destroyed. Our heroes live to see another day. It doesn’t matter that it took three books to get to this point; you’re just happy that they’ve made it!
Also, the author provides a solid three chapters of wind down at the end of the last book (a big sticking point with me, as many of you already know). Once you discover the truth behind what’s happening, you realize that the ending requires more than just the defeat of a demon. All of which is provided! The characters finally find peace and happiness and set off on their individual paths into the future (well, Rone and Sandis go together, of course ;-P). And that’s all I really need.
The goal with my own books, of course, is to reach a similar point of satisfaction and resolution by the time I end the story. I want all the loose ends tied up and I want to feel like the tale is complete. Hopefully I’m getting close! Of course, if there are any incomplete story arcs… I suppose that’s what sequels are for, right? ;-)
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section!
Until the next time, keep reading!
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I have two passions: reading and writing. You can't write good stories without first reading good stories - that's my theory, anyway. So this is where I'll share with you the depth of those passions: background on what and why I write, as well as talking about the books that I read and how they impact my writing.