A sweeping, compelling tale…
Verbeek wraps up her graceful, gripping trilogy in Si’Empra series with this satisfying third installment which follows the life of Ellen as the Queen of Si’Empra as the story hops across time. It’s been fifteen years since Ellen took charge as Ürügh of Si’Empra, the leader of the Skyseeker Society. The hostile Antarctic island is flourishing under her command now, but the effect of Mylin, a drug produced by Cryptals, which fuels energy for Ellen’s ailing body is gradually diminishing, bringing her end closer. But there are tasks she must accomplish before she leaves: Getting Richard, her long-time close friend, ready for the leadership and discovering the long-buried secrets of the original Guild to ensure the rightful place of the detested Webcleaners in the society. But Ellen’s old nemesis Norm Tucker is back, and he has every intention to avenge his past insults. The novel brims with the same gripping immediacy (despite Ellen’s cool demeanor) and emotional intensity that have marked the earlier installments in the series. Ellen’s heart aching tale offers an exploration of how one goes on living after suffering sexual abuse and mental trauma. Verbeek’s storytelling is urgent, and her language scintillating and polished. Her characters, especially the pair of Ellen and Rosa are thoroughly human. Ellen with her stubborn disposition and her panache to shut out others may get on readers’ nerves but she is easy to root for. Verbeek has portrayed her with great sympathy and yet admirably refuses to gloss over rough edges. The connection between Ellen and Rosa is achingly tender as Ellen, relentlessly struggling with her inner demons tries to find strength in their enduring bond. The sheer exhilaration of the fascinatingly created remote and hostile Antarctic island world with its varied inhabitants such as Crystalmakers, Skyseekers, Cryptals, and Webcleaners among other, the tight plotting, and the unexpected twists will keep readers engrossed through to the heart wrenching and yet satisfying conclusion. This sweeping fantasy is as much a coming-of-age story as it is an exploration of trauma, grief, duty, sacrifice, friendship, and love. New readers are advised to read the series in proper order to get a better understanding of Si‘Empra’s intricate world. This unique, consistently compelling account of Ellen’s life is an apt finale to a stunning tale. A must read for both fantasy buffs and lovers of women’s fiction.
(Songs of Si’Empra, #3)
By Miriam Verbeek
Pub date July 31, 2020
Price $18.99 (USD) Paperback, $4.99 Kindle edition