A Wizard’s Sacrifice by A.M. Justice (Release Date: October 6, 2020)

Rate: 3.5/5

Medium: Kindle (ARC)

Overview (No Spoilers):

The Woern Saga continues with spectacular twists and turns in A Wizard’s Sacrifice, as Vic learns more about the legend surrounding her namesake than she ever could have imagined. The majority of this book takes place in two different timelines, with Vic and Bethniel’s unexpected adventure being by far the more intriguing and fast paced. I would get so excited to turn the page and find chapters that were from any of the perspectives taking place in that time period. The remaining time line was steeped in political intrigue and emotional turmoil that lacked the same captivating pull, though it was necessary to position the pawns for the final, hectic push. 

Throughout A Wizard’s Sacrifice, Justice exquisitely captures the dynamics of emotionally damaged characters, especially with Ashel who struggles significantly with addiction, guilt, and forgiveness. As often happens in real life, the cycle of substance abuse and relapse can seem never ending and hopeless. Reading this pattern playing out, especially during such stressful and suspenseful sequences makes for several painful chapters. By the end (especially after an unforgivable action where Ashel substitutes one vice for another), I’m of the firm opinion that Vic is far too good, badass for him. That said, it would be remiss to not acknowledge that Vic also has her own baggage so perhaps this is why they fit so well together. 

Another character that stirred a wide array of emotions is Lornk, and if I’m honest, I still haven’t quite settled on how I feel about him. In A Wizard’s Sacrifice, his controversial character evolved from a one dimensional ‘power hungry’ bad guy to one who has ulterior motives rooted in good that add some solid legitimacy behind his madness. As this book progressed, Justice sneakily tricked me into liking Lornk. During various exchanges I would find myself enjoying his character, whereupon  I would feel jolted with guilt as I actively remembered the terrible things he has done in the past. This cycle repeated more frequently as I neared the end of A Wizard’s Sacrifice. The closest I can compare is Frank Underwood from House of Cards, Walter White in Breaking Bad (I gave up after season 2), almost everyone in Succession, or Tywin Lannister from Game of Thrones. In short, powerful character who has aspirations rooted in good but will do anything at all to achieve them. The proverb, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” comes to mind. Regardless, Lornk’s character evolves in unexpected ways in this second installment of The Woern Saga, and will provide much fodder for the reader to mull over. 

Assuming a fast pace early on, A Wizard’s Sacrifice contains many plot twists that will keep the reader on their toes. Every time I thought I had the story figured out, Justice engineers a course adjustment that was vastly different than anticipated. Details regarding the Woern limitations and magic potential  were significantly expanded upon within this follow up to A Wizard’s Forge. Overall, A Wizard’s Sacrifice was an entertaining fantasy read that lends significant depth to familiar characters and brings legends to life while managing to build the suspense through each unexpected turn of events.

Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):

  • Will Ashel tell Vic he cheated? 
  • If Vic sleeps with Ashel again will she obtain more Woern? Or will she never have magic again? 
  • As someone who has recently experienced a miscarriage, Vic losing her baby was especially difficult to read. I loved that through various people being linked that Ashel, Geram, and Wineyll were able to console her despite being separated by time and space.
  • How does this time travel work? Do the Kragnashian utilize this skill often?
  • I became confused with the various groups of Kragnashians? Why did the good ones kill Thabean’s brother? The sheer scale of death of the Kragnashians was also hard to fathom. 
  • Would Thabean had sacrificed himself if he had known that Bethniel was going to die anyway? 
  • How else did Vic and Bethniel change history?
  • I want to know the unbelievable story behind Lornk and Sasha’s time travel!
  • How will the corruption with the various Guilds be fixed?
  • Geram was still one of my favorite characters of this series, but it is hard to believe that the rule following, conservative Lathans would agree to a commoner as regent. With Bethiel dead, will the succession continue as currently set up? 

Vocabulary Builder:

Temerity: a rash or reckless act

Weft: a filling thread or yarn in weaving

Culottes: a divided skirt

Despot: a ruler with absolute power and authority

Purgative: tending to purge

Offal: the waste or by-product of a process: such as the viscera and trimmings of a butchered animal removed in preparing it for market or for consumption

Festooned: a carved, molded, or painted ornament representing a decorative chain

Beatitude: a state of utmost bliss

Phantasm: a mental representation of a real object

Midden: a refuse heap

Torpor: a state of mental and motor inactivity with partial or total insensibility

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