Title: The House of Sacrifice.
Series: Empires of Dust #3.
Writer(s): Anna Smith Spark.
Release Date: August 13th, 2019.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.
Previously in the Empires of Dust trilogy:
The Court of Broken Knives by Anna Smith Spark.
The Tower of Living and Dying by Anna Smith Spark.
It is only right to chase after what has been deemed yours. Even it is an empire. Even it means taking lives, destroying villages, conquering a civilization. However, it is one thing to rise above an empire you’ve built form the ground up, another to rule, to maintain its reign, to build your legacy in history. For some, the latter is the greatest challenge they’ll face. This is where their weaknesses stick out like a sore thumb. This is where they prove their worth and fight for what they believe in. And sometimes, this is a task that not all rulers are capable of. Completing her Empires of Dust trilogy, author Anna Smith Spark presents an emperor at his peak but far from being safe and sane with a finale as bloody and intense as ever before.
What is The House of Sacrifice about? Marith Altrersyr has attained unimaginable power, conquering one empire after another. With a thirst for blood, his allies continue to thrive on this abundance of victory and strength. Nothing can stop them, especially not this ruler whose beloved right hand Thalia is by his side ready to extend the family at a moment’s notice. However, even with this much power, his mind is not at peace. Unstable, vulnerable, and ready to crack, his reign might not be forever. He too wishes happiness for himself and his significant other, even if it means embracing fatherhood. But can he really succumb to such a life? Is Thalia ready to let a bloodthirsty ruler become a father to an innocent child? Is the future as crimson and bleak as their path towards building an empire?
Unlike any other epic fantasy series, author Anna Smith Spark displays a unique and snappy writing skill that allows her to channel a brutally poetic odyssey where dominion over an empire does not mean the end of an emperor’s accomplishments. The protagonist is now at a spot in his life where everything he does fracture his very self and launches him on a profound psychological introspection filled with doubt, unable to identify his desires and struggling to keep his beloved Thalia content as they march into another conquest in itself, one that implicates a potential newborn. Pursuing the stunning world-building seen in the previous volumes, she continues to illustrate a desolate land filled with a rich history and loads of bloodshed, either in the history of certain regions or in the foreseeable future.
Her writing style is one that author Anna Smith Spark has learned to sharpen along the way as she brilliantly establishes a stunning tempo that makes for extremely brilliant pacing for a story that is filled with action and madness. Her action sequences in particular make for some of the most intense sequences, offering no respite to the reader, immersed in a fight where every little detail offers a vivid understanding of how the events evolve. From single word sentences to page-full paragraphs, her writing style is an excellent lull from the usual within grimdark fantasy and truly captures a lyrical bloodthirstiness throughout this novel. This is simply not for those looking for joyous questing. This is for those ready to dive headfirst in a pool of blood and an insane mind as they watch emperors rise and fall.
The House of Sacrifice is a dark and poetic finale to a trilogy that sees to bring to life the history of an empire.