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“It may be in the nature of some beings to be more vicious than others, but each creature of this world can choose whether it wants to follow the instincts it is born with.”

The Fall of the GiantsGregory Kontaxis’ epic Dance of Light series continues with The Fall of the Giants, a thrilling and ambitious sequel that improves upon its predecessor in every single way imaginable.

Now, The Return of the Knights was a promising start to this series, but I am just going to be brutally honest and admit that I wasn’t sure if I was going to come back for more. However, I then read the prequel novella, The Knight of the Moon, and that impressed me so much that I simply couldn’t resist seeing how Kontaxis would step up his game in this second book. And holy smokes, am I glad I trusted the process, because this sequel absolutely blew me away!

One of my main critiques of the first instalment came down to the character work, as I felt that most characters were a bit one-dimensional and lacked true emotional depth. Though while we still have some mustache-twirling villains and overly naive heroic characters, The Fall of the Giants really changed the game for me and offered so much more nuance and depth. The character development in this sequel is simply astounding, and I loved how all their respective inner conflicts and emotional turmoil were depicted in such a painfully realistic way.

The pacing slows down significantly to allow for some great moments of introspection and soul-searching, which, combined with the much more expressive and evocative prose style compared to book 1, helped me to connect on a deeper level with each of the characters. Especially Elliot’s humbling journey into the Mountains of the Forgotten World and Eleanor’s powerful transformation really captivated me, providing some extremely satisfying and earned character growth.

Sometimes I did still feel like some (inter)actions felt a bit forced or out of left field, and some characters could definitely use some anger management therapy, but in a way it almost made them feel even more human. We are, after all, an unpredictable, flawed, and fallible species, and I appreciated how that was showcased in the most disturbing ways here. Themes of war, generational trauma, loss, loyalty, betrayal, redemption, legacy, and forgiveness are explored in surprisingly touching ways, which gave this sequel a lot of nuance, complexity, and heart. 

To me, it feels like Kontaxis has now really found the voices for each of these characters, allowing this ambitious multi-POV narration to be executed with flawless grace. There really is no denying that the scope of this story is extremely vast, and the number of named characters is a lot to keep track of, but I personally didn’t feel overwhelmed or lost for a single minute.

See, even though there are a lot of moving pieces, each character’s personal arc really gets the time and attention it deserves. Moreover, actions are proven to have serious consequences, and I really loved how seemingly innocent decisions of one character could have major rippling effects throughout the entire world and have devastating impacts on other characters’ lives. So many seemingly separate threads got tied together so masterfully in the end, resulting in a pulse-pounding climax sequence that had my heart in my throat.

On top of all that, I also loved how organically the world building expanded in The Fall of the Giants, both in breadth and in depth. Even though this world has a brutal and complicated history that is steeped in blood, it is also filled with sparks of beauty and wonder. I especially enjoyed learning so much more about the Elder Races through Elliot’s perspective, and all of the newly introduced lore and mythical creatures filled me with equal parts awe and terror.

No, this story doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it does what it sets out to do brilliantly. To me, The Dance of Light series feels like an exciting mash-up of A Song of Ice and Fire and The Faithful and the Fallen, while also being completely its own thing. Kontaxis has now proven that he is not afraid to go down some dark and unexpected paths, so I truly can’t wait to see what kind of devilishly dark twists and turns he has up his sleeve next.

The Fall of the Giants truly exceeded my expectations in every single way possible, and it has fully locked me in for the rest of the series. If you are looking for your next sprawling multi-POV epic fantasy full of diverse fantasy races, cutthroat political scheming, rich history and lore, cinematic battle sequences, and riveting levels of tension and intrigue, then you have to check out The Dance of Light series!

Thank you to the author for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. The Fall of the Giants is scheduled for release on May 10, 2024.

The Fall of the Giants

The Fall of the Giants

The Fall of the Giants

The Fall of the Giants

The Fall of the Giants

The Fall of the Giants

The Fall of the Giants

The Fall of the Giants

Esmay Rosalyne

Esmay is a self-proclaimed professional book devourer from The Netherlands. While (dark) fantasy will always have her heart, she is also a big indie/self-pub enthusiast and will probably read anything if the premise sounds intriguing enough. Or, you know, if it promises complete emotional destruction. When not reading books, she is probably reviewing books, talking about books, or watching videos of fellow bookworms talking about books.

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