The Shattered Realm of Ardor Benn by Tyler Whitesides
Title: The Shattered Realm of Ardor Benn
Author: Tyler Whitesides
Publisher: Orbit, Little, Brown Book Group UK
Published Date: November 5th 2020
Length: 704 pages
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Adult Fiction, Adult Fantasy, Epic Fantasy
The second in an action-packed epic fantasy series: In a world with dragon-fueled magic, master con artist Ardor Benn must infiltrate a centuries-old secret organization to find a missing royal heir.
Ardor Benn saved civilization from imminent destruction, but his efforts brought war to the kingdom. It is believed that the rightful rulers have all been assassinated. However, a young heir might have survived.
An ancient organization known as The Realm is behind the chaos, working from the shadows. Under the anonymity of masks, information is distributed sparingly.
Ard’s been hired to infiltrate them, but he’s got competition from an old friend. One who’s set to prove she’s better than the self-proclaimed “Ruse Artist Extraordinaire.”
If Ard can’t find the heir then his world may again approach ruin. Stopping the complete and utter collapse of civilization is quickly becoming Ard’s specialty.
The follow up for the first book is just as spectacular and entertaining as I had hoped for. When the first book ended, I knew that I had found a new fun favourite. With this installment in the I think that thought has changed to a new fun series. I genuinely love the whole world with all its slightly wonky magic system and its ridiculous hijinks.
I am going to try to be as spoiler-free as possible but it’s likely that I would mess up so read further at your own risk.
I am actually glad that the author managed to remember and use all the world and the religions he created and managed to bring one of the things that had slightly bothered me around to it making some sense. Where the first book left off, things were blown including minds. There’s so much that happened in the first book and the plot is made more intricate than I thought was possible in this one. What started a ridiculous heist to steal the King’s crown and promised money turned into so much more and our ragtag group is in a bigger trouble than they ever thought possible. There were some great parts in this book and there were some that left me wanting for more.
For example, I love Ardor Benn, okay? I love that he’s a good guy and an honourable one but he’s also smart about it. He is well aware that mere goodness does not work well in the world he lives in and he is smart about it. I think I really enjoy people/characters who are more than just being good. There has to be more, there has to be something stupid to go along with it, something smart and not so good. That’s what Ardor Benn provides and I lapped it all up. As for his love interest, I wish it wasn’t Quarrah. Simply because she deserves better, he deserves better. Their chemistry isn’t much to write home about but I think they have both grown as people, especially Quarrah. After the end of the first book, she is still kicking ass and taking no prisoners and that’s what I love about her. I like the fact that there are many instances where she is truly annoyed by or disagrees with how Ardor is/behaves. I wish there were more pastries and Raek enjoying the heck out of them, oh well. You can’t always get what you want.
Now, we come to the not-so-awesome things of the book. My first and foremost complaint is the love interest. Both characters don’t really mesh well as a couple and instead shine brighter and feel better as individuals. I would rather they weren’t at all connected that way. Second, I wish the religious part of the world building as well as history was a bit more fleshed out and explained better? Religion plays a huge part in all the things that happen in the book and I wish I had a better understanding of all the religions because I am nit-picky like that. Also, more history please. And yes, I am aware that I sound like a greedy child but I personally feel that the whole experience of the series could be enhanced by those two factors at the very least.
However! There’s so very much to enjoy in this book that those negatives can be ignored just for the sake of enjoyment. I mean, what’s not to like? There’s action, explosions, mad kings, organizations trying to do some shady things, religions having their secrets exposed in the worst way/best way possible. It’s just brilliant altogether and if you want an adventure of the Pirates of the Caribbean style but in a book format then this is it! Although there’s not as many sea monsters in this one. So, keep that in mind.