Every time I open The Assassin King or The Merchant Emperor, I sigh in pleasure at the glorious sight that is revealed to me. Full color maps of the world decorate both inside covers. It’s not as important to know Serendair’s location (I mean, it’s buried under the ocean), but we did know it was on the exact opposite location of the planet from the Great White Tree. However, the maps explain the locations of Gaematria, Manosse, The Fiery Rim, The Great Overward, etc. It also amuses me that on this particular map, one region is
Canrif Firbolg. I’d like it more if Canrif was scrawled out instead of simply struck through, but this will do.
These are not the only maps in the book, just the newest and prettiest ones. We still have a black and white spread detailing the main continent.
This is also the first book that introduces the wonderful decision to head every chapter up with a map, showing a cropped section of the black and white map that tells us exactly where this scene is taking place. It’s a rather nice aid, and I can think of a few other series which would do well to consider the idea.
We’re into the climax of the series now, the beginning of the war that has been brewing since the first book (and may I remind you that The Merchant Emperor is book seven) and shit’s gotten real. In case you feel like you missed something, don’t worry, I finished both The Assassin King and The Merchant Emperor today. The former is the absolute shortest book in the series (unless if The Hollow Queen or The Weaver’s Lament is shorter, I’ve never read either before, so I don’t have a visceral memory of length yet) and clocks in at about 376 pages. Considering how rapidly I’ve been finishing the other shorter books in the Symphony of Ages, it’s no surprise that I had to bring two books to work today.
Anyway, the war has begun, lots of loose ends are turning from threads to ropes, characters are entering, leaving, and entering again, and there’s a dragon’s tongue whip. Weapon. Thing. Ask Witheraugh about it, it was his grandmother’s.
Also, one of the most obnoxious characters in the entire series is finally dead. Under pretenses that were false as far as the killer knew, but true in actuality, but who really cares. This series may portray an epic battle between good and evil, but evil comes in many forms. The character in question was so self-centered and spoiled that anything good he accomplished in his life was purely by accident. Good riddance.
Now that I’ve reread all the books I had already owned, it’s time to plunge into the new ones! Next up is The Hollow Queen.