You may remember that earlier this year, we brought you a review of the first book in Jordan Loyal Short’s Dreadound Ode series, The Skald’s Black Verse (you can see that here), and also helped with a cover reveal of the second book, The Weeping Sigil (seen here). I’ve just recently wrapped up my time with an ARC of The Weeping Sigil, and I’ll tell you what you’ve got in store.
In Short’s The Skald’s Black Verse, we were introduced to the world of Skolja, and it’s inhabitants. To my way of thinking, this has a very Norse flavor to it, albeit one with a musical (and sometimes bloody) method to creating supernatural effects. In that book, we are also introduced to the Tyrianites, which are a colonizing force across the Void (in many ways this group seem to remind me of ancient Rome). While there are a variety of characters, there are three main ones from Skolja that we follow the stories of in The Weeping Sigil – Brohr, Henrik, and Lyssa.
If you’ve read the first book, you’ll recall that Brohr was (SPOILER ALERT IF YOU’VE NOT READ The Skald’s Black Verse) – unbeknownst to him – a skald, who also has his brother living inside of him. When we see Brohr in The Weeping Sigil, his powers have progressed very rapidly since the conclusion of Verse. I asked Short about that, and he explained that burst as the convergence of three things – Brohr’s skald bloodline, the essence of his brother, and the influence of Moriigo.
At the start, Brohr and Lyssa are travelling together, along with the remnant of Skolja. I don’t want to give too much away, but suffice to say, their paths separate. This means we end up with two different storylines, with Lyssa working into some space pirating, while Brohr follows his own driven path. Meanwhile, while this is going on, you’ve got Henrik.
Again, from Verse, you will remember Henrik as the son of the mayor who also had some talent in binding (another form of magic in this setting). When he escaped Skolja, he was adrift in the void. Here, I’ll let the synopsis take over to explain:
Adrift in the void, Henrik?s rescue is only a prelude to slavery.
But his new life on Tyria is not at all what he expected. When the illustrious House of Quoll purchases him, Henrik finds himself living in the home of his old enemy, Prefect Brasca Quoll. Desperate to hide the truth of his last days on Heimir, Henrik dives into the murderous game of Tyrianite politics. Devastated by the catastrophe on the Norn homeworld, the Federation teeters on the brink of civil war.
While the Shining Ones maneuver their champions for the final confrontation, Henrik?s fevered visions unveil the scope of Moriigo?s nightmarish rebellion.
Aboard a stolen voidcraft, Brohr and Lyssa hurtle into the depths of the starry abyss, on a desperate exodus in search of safe haven. But the outer reaches of the system are full of strange worlds, haunted ruins, and bizarre cults.
As anarchy grips the streets of Tyria, Henrik vows to reveal the true peril facing the Federation: Moriigo?s return! While rival electors, assassins, and federal inquisitors plot the downfall of House Quoll, Henrik must bind himself to the future of his onetime enemies, lest the horrors of his prophetic visions come to pass!Synopsis of The Weeping Sigil
So, even though Henrik is in a totally different spot in the void, his storyline still intertwines with the other two players here. While I would say Lyssa’s story is more of a space focus – and figuring out her own path, and Brohr’s is a more-familiar fantasy-driven path, Henrik’s folds in something else. Yes, there are definitely the trappings of religion and cataclysm (which has overshadowed both of these books), Henrik’s story is one more of politics and intrigue. As well, we also get to learn more of the Tyrianite world and culture.
While I did enjoy the book (and can’t wait to see what book 3 brings), I was surprised to realize that this political intrigue was actually my favorite of the three storylines. While it is of course wrapped up in a sort of medieval fantasy setting, the political intrigue is the vehicle driving on that road. In some ways, I’ve found myself more drawn to that sort of story, be it in the Wildfire Cycle books from D.P. Woolliscroft, The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson, or the Powdermage books from Brian McClellan, I find myself more engaged by the political side of things in the story.
Then again – if that’s not your bag, don’t shy away from the The Weeping Sigil – it’s just one of the three main threads weaving through this story, and even it is still set within the background of everything that’s going on in the potentially universe-changing events that everything seems to be building towards. The Weeping Sigil by Jordan Loyal Short is going to be released on November 12th, though you can pre-order it now. Looking at Amazon, the paperback goes for $14.99, while the Kindle version is $4.99 (and should land on your Kindle the day of release). In the mean time, you can check out a free chapter of the book right here. jordanloyalshort.com