Before the war, before the Blades, before the Leader…
There was a boy and a scullery maid and a secret shame.
One moonlit night of blood and knives destroyed their country and their lives forever.
The Leader failed to die, but will he also fail to lead?
(Okay, for those of you who have not yet read Defy, I’ll attempt to avoid giving away any major spoilers. But no promises.)
One of the few characters – aside from the villains – that I never cared much for in the Blades series was The Leader. I knew of his past, sympathized with him a bit, but it was not quite enough to make me like him. In Destroy, we finally get his story, including several scenes from Defy from his point of view which show the real reasons he acted the way he did. By the end of this novella, I was actually able to like him and sympathize. And I do hope to see more of the development of his and Leith’s relationship in the upcoming novel: Deliver.
Destroy starts about a year before the usurper King Respen overtook Acktar. Here we finally get the chance to meet the parents of Brandi and Renna, as well as the royal family. After meeting the King and his heir, I almost didn’t feel so bad about Respen taking the throne. That probably sounds terrible, but while Respen was bad, at the same time, what disasters would that Prince Angus have brought down on Acktar if given the chance? In a weird and slightly twisted kind of way, it was almost rather a good thing that Respen made that coup. Just goes to show that God always has a plan. Even if it does not always look that way.
From the attack the story moves forward through time with glimpses of The Leader’s life as he struggles to live and to overcome both physical limitations and emotional ones, finds love in a place he never would have expected, and fights to forgive the man who wronged him.
Forgiveness is a huge theme in this book. Not just forgiving others, but also finding a way to forgive yourself. The Leader did a lot of things in his youth he is not proud of, hurt some people, and he struggles to get past that. In a way, he feels as though all that happened to him was a deserved punishment of sorts. He fears that he isn’t good enough, that he’ll make an even worse Leader than his predecessor. His fears are as crippling as the physical wounds he received, perhaps more. Only time will tell if he can overcome in time to save Acktar.
I highly recommend Destroy for all Blades of Acktar fans, and now I’m even more excited to get my hands on Deliver, though at the same time I’m a bit afraid to, because I don’t want to see this series end!
My Rating: Five Flames
Romance: Some kissing, one of which was forced. The main character and his brother’s carousing is briefly mentioned.
Drinking/drugs: One minor character drank and was said to frequent the taverns. Tried to get Leader to, but was refused.
Blood/Violence: This was probably the bloodiest of the Blades books. The author writes it tastefully, but there are severe wounds and multiple murders as well as two battles and their aftermaths.
Amazon Kindle Link
Happy Reading y’all!