So now, finally onto the synopsis. This is a four-country world, one I’ve always pictured as a square, Olso top-left, Lera top-right, Vallos bottom-left and Ruina the final bottom-right. Whenever there’s an invasion, boats are never involved, always horses and hiking. The last book involved the queen of Vallos, Mary, being betrothed to Prince Casimir of Lera, and since this is a world without technology or enough inter-country activity, the only Ruined girl in line for the throne left who wasn’t either dead or captured, Emmelina Flores, sabotaged the wedding, killing Mary and Em taking her place with the help of her friends. A lot happened in the last book. Cas’ father and mother were both slaughtered in different ways, partially Em’s fault, both Em and Cas lost so many they loved but ended up finding some accidental comfort in each other during their time, primarily because Cas was willing to listen to “Mary” about how the Ruined were slaughtered at the request of the Leran kingdom. But now Em has rescued her sister Olivia, a Ruined so powerful she can kill as easy as lifting a dumbbell. She’d been held and tortured in a cell within the Lera castle for an entire year. So now, Em, Olivia and Aren, their best friend, have returned home to Ruina alongside any of the surviving Ruined. A warrior named August from Olso is suggesting a partnership, a marriage to Em, and meanwhile, Cas is now the leader, the king of Lera, but his cousin Jovita believes rightfully that he still has feelings for Em, a murderer, and does not intend to have someone so shallow and manipulative rule the land.
Avenged is not like any other bloated fantasy swordswing adventure, because this one has something thought-propelling and gruesome: the most sadistic character on the protagonist’s side possible. One of these characters Em has a lot of history with, to the point where she feels if she wants to do the right thing and save lives and be the hero that’s required to get the world on her side, she has to make a sacrifice not very many would find easy. At the same time, there’s support for this other side, adding to the tension of what could happen if anything more goes wrong than what has already transpired.
Avenged also has a political story straightforward enough to resonate with any reader. Something everyone forgets come election time is every nominee for a position is a person, and no person is perfect and and incapable of making a few mistakes, but when the levels of disagreement have murder and terrorism in the ranks, and a ruler that’s been tortured for an entire year is also in the conversation, it won’t be pretty. The Ruined and Lerans end up doing very bad sh*t to each other, with at least a few of the people on the attacking side not intending to hurt them or maybe not even part of the ambush at all, but the tension ends up to the point where having sympathy for even the non-violent side of the enemy and even not completely agreeing with violent measures suggests traitorism. Avenged is willing to show how hard, next to impossible, it is to have peace when both sides, or either side, are never willing to listen.
Lastly, Tintera has always had an unexplainable talent for generating excitement. Everything she’s written has been tremendously hard to put down and never feels it’s put on the brakes. I’m looking forward to Allied, though I know it’s going to be a bloodbath.