Today I am reviewing ‘The Lessons Never Learned’ by Rob. J. Hayes. You can check out my review of book one ‘Along the Razor’s Edge’ (HERE), and the author wrote a post about writing this second book that people should check out HERE.
I am the weapon.
Eskara is free of the Pit, but far from safe. She is beset by the ghosts of those she has killed, and plagued by the ancient horror that possesses her. Enemies dog her heels, determined to see the last Orran Sourcerer dead. Worse still, there is new player in the game, one far more dangerous than anything she has faced before.
But there is one place that might offer her both the safety she needs to survive, and the power she needs to strike back; Ro’shan, the flying home of a God.
Eska will soon learn that all power comes with a cost, and some prices are too high.
Sometimes, it is hard for the second book to live up to the first. That is not the case here. The Lesson’s Never Learned built beautifully on the world and characters that I fell in love with during Along the Razor’s Edge, and I would say that I found book 2 even more gripping as I was unable to put the book down from start to finish. It left me needing more, and all I can say is thank the stars book 3 is less than a month away because I need to know what happens and you can bet I will be there at midnight waiting for it to download so I can devour it.
The superb world-building from the first book pales in comparison to the world that we are shown in this book, and I am honestly in awe at Hayes’ ability to create a world with such breadth and depth. The Pit is still there, looming in the background, and you can feel its effects through flashbacks, and how those who lived there and escaped react with the world around them. But now, we get to experience in high definition, the world that had been hinted at through the tantalising flashbacks in the first book and what a world.
In this book, we get to learn more of the history of the world – and the Other World – again drawing, past, present and the future hinted at through Eska’s thoughts and comments together. And we get to understand more of what the ‘War Eternal’ means, although not in its entirety, leaving us with answers and even more questions. Honestly, I could read dozens of books in this world there is so much in it, and yet it is so beautifully delivered that even as you want more, you can’t help but feel completely satisfied.
It was a delight to return to Eska, to see her growing and coming into her own in the world beyond the Pit, but still shaped by it. She becomes an adult, a part of the whole – she doesn’t have many that are close to her, but she is fiercely protective of them – willing to risk everything. The losses in the Pit. The betrayals and secrets. Everything is written into her choices and sacrifices, and each step is well developed, and you empathise with her. Yet, for all her changes and growth, she remains true to who she is, and what she wants, even as the world and the people around her shift and offer her new things, both hopes and dangers, secrets and lies. She is an exceptionally well-written character, and even if you disagree with what she is doing, you can’t help but relate to her and understand.
The secondary cast has grown and developed with her. Her choices and changes are shaping them, as much as they shape her. There are many wonderful moments, where they get to just live in this book, breathing points amongst the action, which not only develops the characters and their relationships, but also raise the stakes because there is more to be lost, and more to be protected. Tamura has also become a firm favourite, especially as we’ve learned more about him, and his past. I have always loved how he speaks and interacts with the world, and it felt very much as though he came into his own in this book.
I can’t recommend this book, series and author highly enough and the 26th May cannot come soon enough!
The Lessons Never Learned (The War Eternal #2) – Rob J. Hayes (Self-Published 28th April 2020) – ***** (5/5 Stars)
If you’ve read it, or read it in the future, please feel free to shout at me about this fantastic book.