Thanatos by Nerine Dorman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I was fortunate to receive an ARC of Thanatos, and am pleased to provide this review.
I previously reviewed the first book of this set, Inkarna, and am happy to say that, any of the ways in which I found Inkarna falling short have been remedied with Thanatos. The pacing is much more even and the plot feels tighter. While there’s still mystery and uncertainty, we’re not struggling along with Ashton in the same way we were before, while he came to terms with his new identity and what had happened. I will say that reading Inkarna prior to Thanatos is very important; Dorman’s solid worldbuilding in Inkarna is what allows Thanatos to progress smoothly and at a deftly controlled pace.
In this second installment Ash finds himself caught between rival Houses, and facing monumental, sobering decisions. He struggles to balance doing the right thing with the necessary thing, and his struggles, seen through the first-person present tense, are immediate and keenly gut-wrenching. He struggles with loyalty to his mission, while giving in could free him from the weight he’s under. He struggles with his identity as a husband, a father, an Inkarna, and the last remaining member of his House. While much of the previous novel has him comparing the form of Ashton Kennedy to the prior incarnation, Lizzie Perry, we get to see him settle into life as Ashton and some of the sensibilities of Lizzie fade.
Another fantastic touch to this novel is the inter-House politics that we get to see. We see more of the structure of the Inkarna, more of the rituals, more of the ethereal part of their reality as Ash settles into this incarnation. Seeing houses maneuver within and between one another adds an interesting layer to Ashton’s story and builds even more on the worldbuilding set up with the first novel.
The pacing was handled very nicely: a page turner indeed, with all the pieces falling nicely into place, and yet not handed to the reader in a neat, easy package. Thanatos keeps us wondering what’s really going on, how the houses are behaving, and how Ash is caught in the middle of it all.
Having the background knowledge from Inkarna allowed me to relax and really enjoy Thanatos and Ashton’s journey through the material world, and the ethereal one. Filled with fascinating use of Egyptian myth, and centering around a plot that could change the world, I thoroughly enjoyed joining Ash on this adventure. This was a more than worthy follow-up to Inkarna.
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Thanatos by Nerine Dorman