THE BITTER TWINS
AUTHOR: Jen Williams
PUBLISHED ON: 8th March 2018
GENRE: High Fantasy, Adventure
STARS: 4 Stars
BOOK 2 OF WINNOWING FLAME TRILOGY
The Bitter Twins has won British Fantasy Award for Best Fantasy Novel (Robert Holdstock Award) (2019).
CONVINCING YOU TO READ THIS IN 6 WORDS: Found-Family, Adventure, Dream-walking, Winnowfire, Epic battle, Legends & Myths
The Bitter Twins begins exactly after the end of the most amazing rain I have read. The Ninth Rain has fallen after years and years of waiting and hoping. Hestillion in her haste, found herself in the Corpse Moon trying to realise and come to terms with what she has done. While the others are torn, one in the realisation of witnessing the sacred rain and the other in the realisation that the Corpse Moon is out again and all their lives are in danger. We find ourselves as the Eborans and the rest of Sarn tries to bond with the war-beasts.
Gathering themselves after the defeat, we find ourselves as Tor, Noon, Vostok, Aldasair, Bern and others trying to form their plan of action. While Vintage found herself what she was looking for ages. The group re-group and try to form a plan and break into pairs and set off on their mission. On one hand, we have one group off to find the mysteries and understand better the connections and other lures. While the other decides to focus on nurturing the other people and war- beasts and at the same time try to stop the Queen before she gains power unlike before.
But nothing is like before. Never before had a human connection with a war-beast. Never before had there been war-beasts without their precious memories. Never before had there been an Eboran helping the Jure’lia Queen. Never before had we had war-beasts fighting against their brothers or sisters?
Despite, every change, to what end will we go? Will we witness the dangers that the Queen is hiding? Will we understand the complexities of the war-beasts? Will Vintage’s knowledge be enough to save Ebora and the whole of Sarn or we might just wait for our death?
“It was only when windows were taken away, she realised, that you truly understood what they had always given you.”
If The Ninth Rain wasn’t enough, The Bitter Twins should be proof of how brilliant Jen Williams is. Everything from the plot to the characters to the storyline is amazing. I would not lie, the start of the book was slow. I mean, it felt S-L-O-W. But but but…after a while, everything picked up, everything connected and I could not stop myself from gushing over how perfect everything was! On this journey, we meet new characters, we meet new war-beasts and the tension between everyone is higher than before.
They connect you, do they not? A unique bond. Together you are something that you are not, alone.”
Writing a review for Williams’ book is at times so difficult because there is always a scope to spoil the book. I try to keep as much suspense as possible, trying not to mention the new names either. The Bitter Twins takes us to a long lost island to find the mysteries and oh my gosh…what a journey it was. The unknown path to the destination, the hidden meanings behind all the dreams, the actual place, losing oneself in the beauty it offers, realising how many things are hidden here and trying to differentiate the truth and lies and then finding oneself in an almost hopeless and unknown hostage situation. I loved every minute detail.
“The silence would get so loud it became a noise? Like bells ringing, bells ringing everywhere.”
What made me think too much was unexpectedly Hestillion and Celaphone. I really enjoyed them. They aren’t my favourite characters but everything that they did, everything that they had to go through, it made me wonder. It made me think. How much our choices affect us. How much the way we are raised change us. War-beasts are generally born to fight against the Jure’lia not grow with them, and certainly not to lead them to victories. But here are, witnessing the unthinkable. And so, it is about them that I think about when I can’t sleep.
Micanal, he reminded himself, was an artist, one not necessarily interested in the depiction of reality.
Coming to the group back in Ebora, I really enjoyed witnessing the new changes. The best plot was when we received armour for the War-beasts. I cannot go into the details but what a beautiful plot it was. And the ever amazing Vintage. She proves with every step, nothing can stop someone. It doesn’t matter if she is a lady or if she is more interested in studying or if what she expected in someone didn’t meet or if you are betrayed. Reading Vintage was so fresh.
“We should not be alone. Other people give things meaning. I forgot for a long time, and maybe you forgot too.”
Every small small detail about the story, be it the quirkiness of the dialogues or the way each character have a set voice, how the detail that you probably missed lead to something so big- everything shows one thing and that is how amazing writer Jen Williams is. And how vivid her imagination is. I mean sometimes, I really have to stop myself from thinking what exactly did Jen imagine when she was creating the Jure’lia and Behemoth. What exactly was going on in her mind that she decided, you know what they are going to leave blackness around them.
“When your world has been at war forever, how do you know peace?”
The multiple POVs in The Bitter Twins kept me hooked and multiple storylines forced me to turn page after page, ignoring the ticking of the clock, reminding me to sleep. I still cannot point out exactly what made me feel that the book was slow in the beginning because, after a while, I could hardly stop. All the different plots and storylines merge to form one beautiful story that I don’t think I will ever stop recommending.
You can buy the book here.
You can find the review for The first book, The Ninth Rain here.
The Ninth Rain has fallen, the Jure’lia have returned, and with Ebora a shadow of its former self, the old enemy are closer to conquering Sarn than ever.
Tormalin the Oathless and the Fell-Witch Noon have their hands full dealing with the first war-beasts to be born in Ebora for nearly three hundred years. But these are not the great mythological warriors of old; hatched too early and with no link to their past lives, the war-beasts have no memory of the many battles they have fought and won, and no concept of how they can possibly do it again. The key to uniting them, according to the scholar Vintage, may lie in a part of Sarn no one really believes exists, but finding it will mean a dangerous journey at a time of war…
Meanwhile, Hestillion is trapped on board the corpse moon, forced into a strange and uneasy alliance with the Jure’lia queen. Something terrifying is growing up there, in the heart of the Behemoth, and the people of Sarn will have no defence against these new monsters.
And the review for If We Were Villains here.