The Soul of Power by Callie Bates
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Callie Bates' Waking Land trilogy has been an unusual one in that each volume has explored a different POV character in the triumvirate that promises peace and security for the future of Eren and Caeris. In the first book, The Waking Land we meet Elana Valtai, the Caveadear (Steward of the Land) who will wake the land in the strained nations of Eren and Caeris. Elanna comes to terms with her power, a theme that is central to this trilogy. In the second novel, The Memory of Fire we see Elanna's lover Jahan facing the trauma of his childhood and teen years at the hands of a brutal witch who seeks to make him resistant to the anti-magical methods of the powerful kingdom of Paladis. Jahan, too, must embrace his power and forge a path for what he believes in and the woman he loves. The third person in this trilogy is Sophy Dunbarron, a young woman raised by Elanna's family, who ascends to the throne though she is not legitimately born, is young, unmarried, pregnant, and not too sure that she can do what she's been raised to do. The challenges facing Sophy are real and are only worsened when Elanna (in events covered in The Memory of Fire) is kidnapped by witch hunters and taken to Paladis. How is she to make peace in Eren and Caeris and how can she lead when so many of her subjects doubt her right or her ability to do so?
The Soul of Power is mostly devoted to Sophy finding a way to make peace and progress in her two countries, and how to help her people as magic seems to be sprouting up everywhere now that Elanna has awakened the land (before she was snatched). Once again, as with Elanna and Jahan, Sophy struggles until she fully embraces her role and her right to a partner of her choosing.
Bates' writing has grown in depth and complexity over the course of the three books. This third novel is the most polished of the three novels. Also, I enjoyed Sophy's story, in part because of how relatable she is. She's not bestowed with amazing magical abilities like Elanna and Jahan, but she recognizes her power and her responsibility to her people.
Emily Woo Zeller, an excellent voice talent, narrates the audiobook.
I received an Advance Review Copy of this book, along with a Digital Review Copy, from DelRey in exchange for an honest review.
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