I was sent this book by the publisher for an honest review.
The old priests have fallen. the Demons are no more, but Kandrina has yet to find out what really killed her brother. Her need for revenge takes her and her former teacher on a perilous journey into uncharted territory. They must travel north, into the lands of the fearsome lizard men known as the Li Buqu. Meanwhile. the tribal lands are under attack from predators not to mention the internal conflicts between the Vice-Chiefs which threaten to disrupt the People’s way of life.
Beyond the Serpent Hills by Kitty Lewis is the second book in her Legends of the Lost Tribes series. The book opened with a prologue that had some very unexpected events with some new characters. It made me eager to find out who they were and where they came from because it involved a type of technology I didn’t think they’d have in this world. The regular plot picked up a few weeks after the events of the first book with Kandrina, Remlik, Remlika and Dekarem traveling to the Dwarves’ lands for a reunion with Kandrina’s family and some friends. It was slower and calmer and the lack of something setting off the action made it a weaker beginning than the first book had.
Lewis once again showcases her impressive world building skills in this book. The world is so full of different races of creatures with unique cultures that she does a really great job giving us a taste of. Even when the creatures didn’t play a huge role in the story, we got a great sense of their lives and cultures in short scenes that really fleshed them out.
As for characters, I was disappointed that Dranjari, the Goddess of Time, didn’t make an appearance in this book. She was unpredictable and fun and I would’ve liked her to have more of a role in Kandrina’s story in this book. The other characters were the same as in the last book—well formed, realistic and likable, but no one that I loved a lot.
I was surprised that the Colourless were barely mentioned in this story. Being a sequel, I expected their story to be continued but it seems to have pretty much wrapped up. The priests and gods were hardly brought up in this story, either. Those were the main groups driving the conflict in the last book so it was strange that they were mostly unmentioned. I think more information about how the People’s Lands were changing regarding the new priests and their newfound friendship with the Colourless should’ve been included because the second book felt more like an addition to the series, not a continuation of the first book.
The creatures that we learned about in this book were the Li Buqu(a) or lizard people. Their names are very hard to pronounce so I appreciated that Lewis included a pronunciation guide and explained how their spellings work at the start. I didn’t like them as much as the Colourless but their culture and politics were interesting. It was really well thought out and I enjoyed learning about them.
The plot of this book didn’t excite me all that much. Again, Lewis’ strengths seem to lie with world building and writing but the basic plot points seemed too similar to the first book’s for my liking. Kandrina and the others were in search of information on the Li Buqu(a) and ended up spending some time in their lands, which is very similar to their search for information regarding the Colourless and the time Kandrina spent with them, later joined by Remlik and Remlika. As with the first book, the politics and inner workings of each land make the story what it is but the action is lacking. I don’t feel like enough time is spent building anticipation for the bigger things that happen because they don’t end up feeling like the climax of the story. Also, during the more action filled scenes, I didn’t feel like I was in the action with the characters. The writing felt distant at times and failed to put me in the moment with them. Some things also seemed too easy and fizzled out too quickly for the impact to be felt. I was surprised at the level of destruction a certain event caused, but even the characters’ feelings about it didn’t feel strong enough and didn’t make me feel anything.
I’m giving this novel 3/5 stars. I thoroughly enjoyed the world building and politics but the plot wasn’t captivating. Lewis is a skilled writer and I did enjoy her story, despite some areas lacking. Readers who enjoyed the first book will enjoy this one as well. Thank you again to Beacon Publishing Group for sending me this book.