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Eirwen and Fridis, the first of the seven-volume Ravenstones series, began the tale of an unlikely friendship between an unassuming polar bear and an intrepid eider duck. Their travels took the pair to Vigmar, a mountainous Empire at war with its neighbor, the Kingdom of Aeronbed. Fate has placed the inexperienced bear in command of Vigmar’s quarrelsome forces, and he is immediately beset by the demands of leadership. Fridis, meanwhile, overcoming misfortune, seeks to unravel the many mysteries of the Empire’s capital, Blakfel, and confront its scheming rulers.
Volume 2, The Invasion of Aeronbed, continues the story. Eirwen has decided that Vigmar must invade its neighbor to bring an end to the long-standing conflict. The decision on his own role in this invasion will lead to unintended consequences. Fridis, meanwhile, ill-equipped for such violent confrontations, must stay behind to fend for herself. Although she discovers a satisfying role in Blakfel, danger lurks for her in the capital’s byways and castle towers as much as on any battlefield.
The first of the Revenstones books had the reader meet Eirwen, a polar bear, and Fridis, an eider duck, who were destined to become good friends and intrepid adventurers. The second volume picks up where the first book left off, with Eirwen in charge of the forces of Vigmar, while Fridis is becoming ever more popular in the city of Blakfel. The pressures of war, the politics of a kingdom, and the danger lurking around every corner don’t let up in The Invasion of Aeronbed.
The book is a well thought out sequel that, if anything, improves upon the original. The stakes are higher, the danger more personal, and the reader is easily engrossed in the tale. While Eirwen is out dealing with the ramifications of war, Fridis is left alone to deal with the forces of palace intrigue that wish to do her harm. The mysteries go deeper, while the action intensifies. The likable polar bear and duck are separated but their stories remain intertwined and it was satisfying reading both accounts.
One thing that might improve the book a little is more back story on some of the characters we meet in Vigmar and what their purposes are. However, the cast is large enough that there might not be enough time to delve into that with too much depth.
The book manages to expand upon both the war that rages between Vigmar and Aeronbed while keeping perspective on the personal stakes for the characters we met in the first volume. It’s been an interesting ride so far and I am looking forward to seeing where the author will take us next. If the title of the next volume is any indication, it looks like we may get a fresh perspective which will be interesting to see.
If you love fantasy books full of huge battles, nefarious political maneuvering, and long-lasting friendship, you are going to love this volume. This is only the second in a seven-volume set, so there is plenty of story to come and I look forward to reading more.
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