Lady Vago's Absolution by A.K.M. Beach | Book Review
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Ysoldette braved the banshee Lady Vago’s ire and listened to the woman’s tale of loss and grief. Imbuing herself with Lady Vago’s memories and tethering herself to a source of anguish, she promises to free her. Pulled towards the town of Basalt Ridge, somewhere within lies the sorcerer who doomed the Vago Household. And in the woods, horrendous beasts prey on any who dare to linger. Tormented day and night, the people of Basalt Ridge have lost hope. Ysoldette and the holy company she rides with will have their faith tested as they battle against a seething evil and its minions.
The atmosphere of Lady Vago's Absolution will send a chill down the reader’s spine. The town of Basalt Ridge is picturesque of rot and ruin brought on by unholy sorcery. And as the characters pursue their quest, new horrors are unearthed. There is only so far the power of light can reach before the shadows threaten to overtake it. And as readers are drawn farther down the path of darkness, they will find all manner of ghosts and grotesque creatures the company must face. Not all will be able to hold faith. The torment each suffers as they come to terms with their limitations is gut wrenching.
Lady Vago’s Absolution introduces readers to the fascinating magic system of Bibliomancy. Based on a person’s faith, those who call upon the holy power must draw from a golden dragon. Items are enchanted with the dragon’s holiness, but with use lose their magic. Ysoldette and the nobles call upon their magic with various uses of meditation, holy artifacts, prayer, and herbs. Ysoldette herself has an unconventional way of using her power, and for this, she is looked down upon by the other nobles. Some may even say she balances on the edge of blasphemy.
Ysoldette is overshadowed by her heritage. Though she travels with the High Lord and the cleansing party, she is the only commoner among them. And while her abilities may be effective against the darkness, she doesn’t follow the strict guidelines of bibliomancy. There are many terse words thrown at her despite the discoveries she makes and the spirits she puts to rest. Yet she persists, at the cost of her own life and faith to do what she knows is right. Ysoldette’s character progression is complex and rife with self-doubt and inner turmoil. The perfect mix for a gothic novel.
While Lady Vago’s Absolution encompasses a wider world than the original novel, it also allows the reader to experience even more delightfully gothic elements. The characters are each unique and plagued by their own desires and tests of faith. The overshadowing mystery torments not only the characters but the reader as well, demanding answers and a resolution to feelings of distress. If you enjoy gothic fantasy novels, you must read this duology.
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