I have FINALLY gotten around to finishing all the re-reading I wanted to get in before I started on the latest book in this series. I thought that before I actually wrote up the review for it, I needed to post a little about the series itself, which is actually listed as three separate series, though I’m not sure why as they are all pretty intimately connected.
The order that these books need to be read in also does not follow from series to series. They overlap. If you are not familiar with them, I recommend reading them in the order listed below:
The Hidden City – The House War
City of Night – The House War
Hunter’s Oath – The Sacred Hunt
Hunter’s Death – The Sacred Hunt*
House Name – The House War*
The Broken Crown – The Sun Sword
The Uncrowned King – The Sun Sword
The Shining Court – The Sun Sword
Sea of Sorrows – The Sun Sword
The Riven Shield – The Sun Sword
The Sun Sword – The Sun Sword
Skirmish – The House War
Battle – The House War
Oracle – The House War
The first note to the series that must be made is that Hunter’s Death and House Name are pretty much the same book. I will admit that these were not the books that I took the time to re-read on this go round as I’ve already read the first several books in the series several times and felt that with the short time I had, I was okay to skip those. Because of that I cannot say definitively, at this time, that they are exactly the same books (hey, it has been a while). They are substantially enough the same that you could easily get away with only reading one. The events in the last couple of books in the Sun Sword series happen at the same time as Skirmish and Battle from the House War Series.
These books are not the kinds of books that you can pick up one of the later books and not be totally lost. You absolutely have to read them in order to be able to follow the story. The entire storyline is incredibly intense and packed full of various different characters and places and political and personal interactions. While each individual series has central characters, which are numerous, many of those characters are critical across the entire story line of all three series. You could probably read the Sacred Hunt Series or the Sun Sword series alone, but if you want to read the House War series, you need to read them all in order to not miss out on something.
If you stop and think of what kind of mind can create the level of writing that is in these books, you just might break your brain. Incredibly detailed world, phenomenally developed characters, intricately wrought and complex situations, relationships and political intrigues. It is just so much to take in and absorb. I actually described it to my husband as though you were reading about all of the residents in a small town, with all the details and personalities of each of those people and their interactions and relationships, except in a completely fantastical world filled with humans, magic, immortals, gods, and demons. While this is a pretty dumbed down description, it is still pretty accurate.
In a way it is funny, because I’m not sure I would like a series like this written by any other author. I don’t typically like reading books that are quite that intricately detailed and full while having to keep so close track of what is going on in a story, nor am I a huge fan of books that are that wed to the entire series that I would feel at a complete loss if I started in the middle somewhere. In the case of these books, though, it is done so expertly that I cannot help but love every bit of it. It is absolutely one of those “suck me in and devour me” kinds of series.