The last member of a murdered House tries to protect his ward from forced marriage to a monster while uncovering clues to his own past.
The Tarot Sequence imagines a modern-day Atlantis off the coast of Massachusetts, governed by powerful Courts based on the traditional Tarot deck.
Rune Saint John, last child of the fallen Sun Throne, is backed into a fight of high court magic and political appetites in a desperate bid to protect his ward, Max, from a forced marital alliance with the Hanged Man.
Rune’s resistance will take him to the island’s dankest corners, including a red light district made of moored ghost ships; a surreal skyscraper farm; and the floor of the ruling Convocation, where a gathering of Arcana will change Rune’s life forever.
This review will not have spoilers for The Last Sun
With how much I raved about The Last Sun (you can check out my review here), this is probably this book I missed the most during my 6-month hiatus. I’m almost sad I missed the promotional cycle for The Hanged Man because I literally would have gotten on my knees and begged for an ARC. Nevertheless, I finally got my hands on a copy and damn, the sequel was well worth the hype.
The Hanged Man takes place several months after The Last Sun and really dives deep into the fucked-up actions of Arcana member the Hanged Man. Where The Last Sun gave glimpses, this book really throws the curtains wide open. Edwards is truly unafraid to explore the depths of abuse of power some of the Arcana can wield, and there were entire sequences where I could feel myself mentally numbing to the horrors Rune and company were encountering.
That being said, if I had could have any character with me as I read, it would have to be Rune. Rune, the absolutely pure cinnamon roll who Doesn’t Deserve This™, who encountered horrors far too early in life and yet has a level of mental fortitude I truly admire. Rune’s strength and his on-going banter with Brand and occasionally Addam give lightness to the book’s otherwise fairly dark tone and subject (namely, attempting to rescue a 17-year-old from being married to the Hanged Man, known for marrying and subsequently disappearing many many under-aged children).
I really fell in love with the cast in The Last Sun and this book just re-affirms my love for them. Addam and Rune’s relationship have progressed since book 1 and one of my favorite parts of this book is how stable and reliable they are for each other. There are these beautiful tender moments between the two of them, even in the midst of all this horror, and I really have to give kudos to the author for them. Rune’s found family in this book is just so perfectly written.
We also finally get to meet the full Arcana, a moment I’ve definitely been waiting for, as well as more about their powers and how the different courts function. There’s also more on the magic of the Arcana (as well as Rune’s ever-present lack of Sigils). My favorite of the Arcana remains Lord Tower (powerful, badass, slightly scary, definitely overprotective mentor!) but as we meet the other major players, I really want to learn about Hierophant and Justice.
Overall, I rate this book a 5/5. The Hanged Man takes the cast and world that Edwards built in his first book and elevates them to a new level, bring the cast closer and the dangers more apparent. The writing is fun and witty, and Rune, Brand, Addam, and the rest of the cast are as lovable as ever. Naturally, I can’t wait for book 3!
TW: implied sexual violence and rape (flashbacks), pedophilia,
/r/Fantasy 2019-2020 Bingo Squares:
- SFF Published in 2019