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The Hidden Masters of Marandur is the second book in the fantasy mixed with technology series Pillars of Reality. Taking place on the continent of Dematr in what I believe is a planet not our own, that humans must have colonized hundreds of years ago. The common people have their kingdoms and governments but are basically under the thumb and control of the two great guilds of Mages and Mechanics. These guilds hate one another except for Mari (mechanic) and Alain (Mage) who came together previously in the first book, The Dragons of Dorcastle, under very dangerous circumstances. This second installment is just as action packed as the first and continues their struggles together against their two guilds, various other nefarious forces and sets them on the road to fulfilling prophecy.
- I was worried at the end of the first book that Alain and Mari wouldn’t be featured together in the second book. Luckily, that wasn’t the case and we get to see them together again navigating dangerous scenarios, trying to figure out what their guilds might know about the two of them working together, escaping dark mechanics and meeting old faces from both of their past lives. I definitely continue to greatly enjoy the dynamics between these two characters especially their dialogue.
- Both the Mage Guild and Mechanics Guild seem to operate in a similar manner in that they try to teach their members to blindly believe nothing but the doctrine of their guild and to place a lower value on the lives of the common people. They take what they want and give little in return except for those services which are highly paid for. The Mages are taught that nothing and no one is real and that the whole world is an illusion and that they must deny all feelings or they will lose their powers as a mage. While the Mechanics are taught that common people don’t have the ability to learn mechanics skills and that they must never make anything new and innovative. Both guilds want to maintain a stagnate state within their guilds and for the entire populace. When one group or common government becomes too strong they pit them against each other in wars to keep them indirectly under their control.
- Each guild does seem to have a group that has broken off that does whatever they please. They are referred to their respective guilds as Dark Mages and Dark Mechanics. They are not part of the guilds and operate outside it’s ruled and regulation doing whatever they please.
- There is a much heavier focus on the romance between Alain and Mari this time around, but I adored it! Alain is starting to show more emotion and Mari is of course very forthcoming with hers. These are two new or young adults exploring feelings neither have had before. I found this to be such a sweet budding relationship that it gave me quite a few, ahhhh I love this book moments. Which says a lot since I’m not usually a sucker for young romance.
- Alain is definitely my favorite character. This might be because he is the most mature character while at the same time has the most potential for growth. He is so intelligent and logical, seeing things so clearly and also having an objective and sticking to it. For being taught not to care about others he still innately seems to know what is right and wrong, having a really strong sense of morals. I loved the way we continue to see Alain slowly learn about simple things like what emotions and different actions mean. I thought that perhaps I might tire of this but have realized its one of my favorite parts about his character.
- Mari is also a great character. Even tho she is a very good person, wanting to help people and respecting each person regardless of their station and wanting so many things for all people. Seeing how things are not fair for everyone and wanting to do things to change the bigger picture she has her faults just like everyone else. She can frequently be so stubborn and pigheaded. She will insist on her way, or get overly emotional about things or even refuse to use logic to see things that are so obvious. And at times she will inconveniently forget that Alain doesn’t understand and see things the way that she does and fly off the handle at him. In a way I got upset a few times at her for being that way and then at other times I got upset that she was written to be that way. *smile* But ultimately I still really adore her character and her fiery personality is a great balance to Alain’s calm and collected one.
I highly recommend this to fantasy lovers, especially if you enjoy reading about young protagonists coming into their own and fighting against a stronger force then themselves. The world building has been strengthened even further giving the reader more history. Along with the characters flight from their pursuers and search for knowledge allowing us to see more of the continent the pace is constant and had me finding excuses to continue the book. The Hidden Masters of Marandur also leaves off at a fabulous point for the third book to pick up which I believe is going to take us and the characters delving even deeper into the world and history of humanity and how they came to Dematr.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
I don't have a lot of experience with Jack Campbell's books so I'm not sure if this is just his writing style, but expect a lot more teen romance then story here. Don't get me wrong the story portion of it is good, just overshadowed heavily by the blossoming romance of the protagonists.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful
I love this series - the characters, the world & the story are amazing & I totally recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy - but this book was paced kind of oddly, the whole thing felt like the middle of a book & the character interactions took on a total teen realism, 'Romeo & Juliet' like quality. The drama felt kind of silly in the face of all of what was going on around them. I just hope that a real teenage would ditch the drama in the face of death & saving the world....
Still an amazing read & the drama does make the characters increasingly real, if rather annoying.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
If you could sum up The Hidden Masters of Marandur in three words, what would they be?
A really good story, but a bit too much of meditation.The actions scenes are really well made and thrilling (not then I'm a big fan of action books but still), but the long dialogues repeating the same things over and over again are a bit boring, as well as the characters' meditations on "should I do this or shouldn't I? maybe I should, but it all seems so wrong! but if it is wrong why it seems so right? maybe it is right then. But what if it is wrong? Maybe I shouldn't do it after all? But then what should I do?.. and so on and on through the book. These parts really made me want to increase the narration speed.
Have you listened to any of MacLeod Andrews’s other performances? How does this one compare?
No, but the narrator is really good
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Not really, because of the long dialogues and long hesitatio scenes I've mentioned above. However I did want to listen to this story to the end and will buy the 3rd book as well.
Any additional comments?
It's not bad at all, all in all, I've enjoyed it, but it is really a young adult book. I never knew what was wrong with the young adult genre, but now I think I know that this teenage romance is a bit too all-sweet-fairytale-like lovestory and not actually realistic. I mean not the fantasy world setting, but the characters themselves and their relations.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful