Book Reviews

Review: The Broken World

Review: The Broken WorldThe Broken World (Ballad of Sir Benfro, #4) by James Oswald
Published by Penguin on September 24th 2015
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 572
Source: Purchased

The book, sir. The Llyfr Draconius.
You'll find what you need in there, if you know how to look.

The war across the Twin Kingdoms rages on.
Queen Beulah has killed one sister and ordered the assassination of another. The Inquisitor Melyn journeys though the north-lands of Llanwennog in a merciless bid to overthrow King Ballah. Now in possession of Brynceri's ring, his power seems indestructible. Nothing can stop the invasion.
Captured by the travelling circus, Sir Benfro cannot shake their control, more powerful than Magog's malign influence. Errol Ramsbottom, left for dead, follows the trail of his friend's captors - only Benfro holds the key to Errol's beloved Martha's whereabouts. But both sides are set on a path of destruction - dragon against dragon, king against queen, man against man.
As the ancient spell that split Gwlad begins to unravel, it may be easier for Benfro and Errol to travel to Gog's world now. But what will happen when the barriers between the two worlds fail entirely? As unlikely alliances form and strategies shift, who will emerge victorious?

A friend of mine adores this series, so I’ve been working my way through them on her recommendation, and while I’ve been enjoying the series so far, I haven’t been hooked on it.  I was a little nervous going into The Broken World (book 4) because of that, and I have to admit it took me quite a while to get into. Once I was engrossed though, I found it more addictive than the previous books – it took me 2 weeks to read the first 48%, and then less than a week to read the remaining 52%.

There are a lot of plot threads to follow in The Broken World, and a fair few different characters to focus on – we’re still following Errol and Benfro, of course, but we also get to see a lot more of Melyn, the series’ villain, Beulah, the reigning Queen, and a few other characters both old and new.  I love Melyn as a villain (and for once, I don’t mean in a ‘he’s just so damaged and I want to give him a hug’ kind of way), and I enjoyed getting some more insight into Beulah too, although she’s definitely softening which I’m not 100% sure about!

I love multiple character POVs, because even when you’re not hooked on one character’s current plot, there’s still someone else you simply can’t wait to get back to, so it helped keep me hooked and is probably why I found this more addictive than the previous volumes.  On the other hand, with so many plot threads going on, various clues building up to help answer some long unanswered questions, and a lot of world-building depth, this can all add up to make it occasionally difficult to keep everything straight in your head.  I enjoyed this book perhaps more than any of the earlier ones in the series though, and I’m looking forward to reading the fifth and final book this year.

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