Book Reviews, Fantasy

Review: World’s Edge by David Hair

Renegade sorcerer Raythe Vyre went off the edge of the map, seeking riches and redemption . . . but he has found the impossible: a vanished civilisation – and the threat of eternal damnation!

Chasing a dream of wealth and freedom, Raythe Vyre’s ragtag caravan of refugees from imperial oppression went off the map, into the frozen wastes of the north. What they found there was beyond all their expectations: Rath Argentium, the legendary city of the long-vanished Aldar, complete with its fabled floating citadel.

Even more unexpectedly, they encountered the Tangato, the remnants of the people who served the Aldar, who are shocked to learn that they’re not alone in the world – and hostile to Raythe’s interlopers. What awaits Raythe’s people in the haunted castle that floats above them, the lair of the last Aldar king? Everlasting wealth – or eternal damnation?

Thank you to NetGalley and Jo Fletcher Books for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Earlier this year I read and reviewed Map’s Edge, the first book in David Hair’s new series of The Tethered Citadel. At the end of that review I said I was very keen to get my hands on the next book because of the massive twist that comes at the end of the first one, so of course I requested World’s Edge as soon as I saw it on NetGalley! Before I go on, please be aware that this book will contain spoilers for the previous book’s events, so don’t read on if you haven’t read Map’s Edge.

I will admit that it took me a while to get back into Hair’s world – I’ve read a lot of books in between and I’d forgotten the details of the characters and events. The author’s style of writing – at least in this series – also lends itself to doing a lot of slow set up for the first part of the book before flipping all the switches about 40% of the way through, hooking me suddenly by bringing everything together in a really satisfying way. This makes for a great ending but it did make for a less enthusiastic beginning, and I found I had to work a little to care about most of the characters again.

Book two does begin right where the first one left off, though (with a handy summary of events to refresh the memory), and that is with the discovery of a tribe called the Tangato, living in the shadow of Rath Argentium – the fabled floating city. Though they were the reason Raythe Vyre’s people did not die at the hand of the Bolgravian army, the Tangato serve as the next point of tension in Raythe’s quest. They have taken his daughter captive and demand that the newcomers leave the city, because it is sacred and forbidden ground. They also believed, until this moment, that they were the only survivors of the magically induced Ice Age, and must now come to terms with the world being much larger than they believed.

At the beginning of World’s Edge I was a little concerned about the portrayal of the Tangato, which are heavily influenced by the Maōri (the author is from New Zealand so this makes sense), as well as a few other native cultures around the world. I was worried there would be too much stereotype-ing, especially since we only see them from the perspective of the ‘colonisers’ for the first while, but once we start to get a few points of view from the Tangato characters I got much more into the story as we explored their culture, with its hierarchy, history, and secrets. It was definitely the most interesting element of the book, for me.

The other thing I really loved was the way Hair brings legend and history into the present in this book; he did that in Map’s Edge a little by having the characters discover a fabled city, building the legend slowly through the stories the characters tell one another, until it manifests as a reality at the climax. He takes it to a whole other level in this sequel, and I don’t want to give away details, but it’s really cool. The world he has built grows out of the pages, and I am left feeling as I was at the end of book one – anticipating the next instalment and eager to see what else will be revealed, especially as I feel more of the chess pieces were set during World’s Edge than they were in Map’s Edge. Hopefully I won’t have to wait too long!

Book Info

Published: 11th November 2021 by Jo Fletcher Books
Genre: fantasy
Pages: 432
Series: The Tethered Citadel, book two
Narration style: third person, multiple points of view
Format read: eARC
Content Warnings: violence, torture, body horror, reference to sexual violence, racism

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