Title: The Last Sun
Series: The Tarot Sequence: Book One
Author: K. D. Edwards
Publisher: Pyr/Penguin Random House
Length: 367 Pages
Category: Urban Fantasy
At a Glance: Clever, unique, charming and action-packed, I was hooked on this book from beginning to end and would recommend it without reservation to anyone who loves Urban Fantasy.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Rune Saint John, last child of the fallen Sun Court, is hired to search for Lady Judgment’s missing son, Addam, on New Atlantis, the island city where the Atlanteans moved after ordinary humans destroyed their original home.
With his companion and bodyguard, Brand, he questions Addam’s relatives and business contacts through the highest ranks of the nobles of New Atlantis. But as they investigate, they uncover more than a missing man: a legendary creature connected to the secret of the massacre of Rune’s Court. In looking for Addam, can Rune find the truth behind his family’s death and the torments of his past?
Review: Author K. D. Edwards’ debut novel, and the first book in his Tarot Sequence series, is nothing short of a feat of inspired storytelling. I’ll admit to knowing less than nothing about the Major Arcana cards in a tarot deck, or the Minor, for that matter, when I began reading The Last Sun, which did nothing to hinder my love of it in the slightest but, having done a little research after finishing this action-packed and imaginative epic, I have an even greater appreciation for how the author wove the tarot aspects into almost every detail of the plot and into the development of his characters as well; his hero protagonist, Rune St. John, in particular. Rune, aka Rune Sun of the Sun Throne which was destroyed and, upon its destruction, brought unimaginable horrors down upon a young Rune, is The Sun card in reverse at present—things are not sorted for him yet, but there is a horizon upon which to focus, and I’m excited to go on his journey to see how the cards may fall.
There are several elements running concurrently through this unique Urban Fantasy, all of them coming together to make for one adrenaline kick of a read. Chief among the story’s details is its world building and associated setting: an alternate Nantucket Island that has been repurposed for the Atlanteans who were displaced when their own island was destroyed. I loved the blend of reality—all the modern contemporary references—and the alt-reality magic that plays a significant role not only in the establishment of New Atlantis but in its society overall, the sigils within which magic is stored being a designator of status. The more sigils in one’s possession, the greater one’s wealth. This makes the precious seven in Rune’s control all the more valuable, but it’s his Aspect that makes him Lord Sun. Not to be underestimated in its importance to this story, however, is the relationship between Rune and his Companion, the only other survivor of the Sun Throne, Brandon St. John.
Brand and Rune have been bonded since infancy. Brand is more than bodyguard, he is more than friend. The capital C in Companion has a significance all its own; it signifies the apotheosis of a bond that comes in short of their being lovers and yet so much more than brothers. Their banter is absolutely refreshing and funny and genuine, and in terms of Edwards conveying what they mean to each other through their dialogue and the narrative, it couldn’t be clearer. To say that they would each put their lives on the line to save the other isn’t a simple declaration of fact, it is observed through action time and time again, and it solidified my investment in and love of their connection.
The layered plotlines allow the introduction of characters apart from Rune and Brand, who are themselves imperative to this novel’s success. When the story becomes one of mystery, when Rune and Brand are given the assignment by Lord Tower to investigate the disappearance of his godson, Addam St. Nicholas, it allows for the inclusion of not only the almighty Lord Tower to impact the progress of events but gifts readers with the opportunity to know others who become important to Rune and Brand too, including Matthias “Max” St. Valentine, whom Rune has been charged with protecting until his twenty-first birthday. Our teenage Max develops a bit of a crush on Rune, but it’s Max’s role as the pawn in a seer’s machinations that nearly costs him his life while sparing Rune’s.
Quinn St. Nicholas is that seer, he is Addam’s fifteen-year-old brother, and if I adored Quinn beyond any sort of reason, it’s thanks to the author’s talent for crafting compelling characters. Quinn scares people by default, thanks to his talent for not only seeing the future but for seeing all probabilities of the future. “He sees the future like it’s the past,”, and it was his innocence compounded by his pariah status and coupled with his knowledge and desire to influence the outcome of all the probabilities he saw surrounding Rune that endeared him to me. I hope to see much more of Quinn as Max’s story unfolds in the next book, The Hanged Man, and to absorb everything that card in the Major Arcana signifies.
Betrayal, avarice, the lust for power, and, for Rune, a bit of vengeance, goes hand-in-hand with battle after battle after battle as Rune and Brand succeed in rescuing Addam from his captor but then quickly discover that the evil turned loose upon New Atlantis is a destructive force far beyond any they’ve ever met before. They must not only fight it but find who summoned it in order to vanquish them and deliver justice—not only for their sins of the present but of the past as well. K. D. Edwards shows his love of and talent for writing a great battle scene, as this book is chock full of them, but each of them serves as more than a means of action and victory. They serve as evolution for Rune, a progression which should prove significant going forward, especially as it appears a certain Addam St. Nicholas is bent upon courting our Lord Sun.
From the prologue to the end of The Last Sun, I was hooked on this book and would recommend it without reservation to anyone who loves Urban Fantasy.
You can buy The Last Sun here:
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