Review of Captives by R.A. Denny (Mud, Rocks and Trees book 3)

Spoilers: This is book 3 in the series, please be mindful when continuing on…

“Welcome to Tzoladia!” The city on a hill in the center of the empire dazzles in the sunlight. The rich and powerful citizens live luxurious lives. But for those who arrive as slaves, refugees, or spies, it is a foreboding place. And it is on the verge of war.
“Beware the Gates of Hell!” the wise man warned. Gates will open. Some lead to the depths of the underworld. Some to the bottom of the sea. Some to the heights of power.
Caught up in forces beyond their control, can the three young deliverers break free to find each other? Or will they lose their way?

Captives starts rather ominously, a prologue in the point of view of Moshoi sets the tone that the three have reached a true point of no return on their journeys. We find Brina and the gliders are being sold into slavery, Tuka taking the reigns from Moshoi, with a new ally, and Amanki being thrust into a war. They are all so far removed from their starting point. However I still find the parity between their journeys fascinating and the way the stories are being woven together is fantastic.  You know that they are at times just touching distance from one another but circumstances conspire against them time and time again. The one thing that I am loving is that they are never alone – no matter what happens Adon is truly looking over them and making sure they are supported, even if the source of that support may be unlikely at first.

This book in the story really does convey dread at times and again the parity between them rings true, Amanki must be heart-stoppingly brave (this section is immense with tension!), Brina must endure becoming someone she has fought not to be and Tuka must learn to trust and think quickly.  It also becomes very clear in this book why Metlan has had a voice throughout and his story starts to throw up real questions about the prophecy they are all following with what could potentially be a great twist in the tale in future books.

Whilst reading the first part though, I couldn’t help but think about what baskrod must be thinking about it all. He spent so long carefully laying plans only for them to be foiled right at the start with the webbies disbelief and not packing up when they should have! Everything has just gone downhill from there with missing his connection with Brina, not being there for Moshoi and generally everyone getting in a pickle –  although he’ll probably just chalk it up to Adons plan

As I mentioned before the book feels like the darkest yet but it is also one which has an element of hope to it.  Despite the lack of opportunity to mourn loss and separation, the bad situations our 3 find themselves in do often present with silver linings.  Be it opportunities to learn and discover, or find new friendships which drive them forward – I feel that for the most part they are in a good place and I hope that book 4 gives their paths the opportunity to converge.  One of the most poignant quotes of the book is “nothing unites people like hatred” which really struck a chord and shows that a book based in fantasy actually has quite the finger on the pulse when it comes down to any societies view of people that have differing beliefs.

A solid 4*

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