Kirsten Reviews: The Given Sacrifice by S.M. Stirling

, by Kt Clapsadl

The Given Sacrifice by S.M. Stirling
Emberverse #10

Praised as a truly original combination of postapocalyptic sci-fi and military-oriented medieval fantasy, S. M. Stirling’s Novels of the Change depict a future without technology, where people must master skills from ages past in order to survive. Now, to ensure that survival for all he cares for, a king faces his greatest challenge in the latest chapter of the New York Times bestselling saga....

Rudi Mackenzie has won the battle that expelled the enemy from the new High Kingdom of Montival. Now he must free the people who live in the state once known as Idaho from occupation by the legions of the Church Universal and Triumphant and pursue them to their lair over the mountains. There he will finally confront the forces behind the Church—the Powers of the Void.

Yet even a victory will not end the conflict forever. The Powers of the Void are malevolent and infinitely patient, and the struggle is one that involves the entire world. They threaten Rudi not only in the present, but also in the future represented by his children, Ă“rlaith and John. Rudi knows this.

And as his heir Princess Ă“rlaith grows up in the shadow of her famous father, she also realizes that the enemy will do anything to see that she does not live to fulfill her parents’ dream....

The Given Sacrifice by S.M. Stirling, a novel of the Change, is the conclusion of the saga begun in The Sunrise Lands. But, one of the themes of the series is that everything is connected, and the challenges faced by characters in this book are, in fact, played out on a far grander scale, and so, in a sense, it will never be over.

However, at least for one character, the journey is over, and Rudi Mackenzie’s arc ends, as he and his allies finally close in on the Church Universal and Triumphant. The plot covers what are to be the last battles against the Cutters, glosses over their defeat, and then introduces characters that will be the focus of later books.

One weakness of this book lies in the fact that although there is a lot going on, the focus is more on shifting from Rudi to Orlaith, his heir. Not only that, but the fate of Rudi isn’t given a climactic scene, but rather feels as though it’s been slotted in so that readers won’t wonder what happened, while at the same time, making sure they are aware that Orlaith is the new protagonist. As a result, Orlaith gets more in depth development, and feels more relatable, not being an Arthurian-esque figure whose destiny and importance are brought up repeatedly, so that the reader can’t forget how important he is, instead of using his actions to the same effect.

Overall, the book wraps up Rudi’s story and effectively shifts the narrative to Orlaith, although readers may find that the way it’s handled leaves them unsatisfied.
(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Other Reviews:
     A Wicked Convergence of Circumstance

Previous Books:
     1. Dies the Fire
     2. The Protector's War
     3. A Meeting at Corvallis
     4. The Sunrise Lands
     5. The Scourge of God
     6. The Sword of the Lady
     7. The High King of Montival
     8. The Tears of the Sun
     9. Lord of the Mountains

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