Fia lives in London, where everything is going wrong for her. Her sister has died, her boyfriend has cheated on her, and she has no one left in the world except someone at her kickboxing gym. At this low point, she follows this angel she keeps seeing at the edge of her vision into a different world. To get home, she needs to be taken to a witches coven, but finding one without being stopped by the insanity going on Ohinyan – not least of which is that their sun is dying and no one knows how long they will have to wait for the third sun.
The world of The Third Sun is fascinating. The different types of people, and the language used to describe them, really brings you into Ohinyan. It isn’t the typical fantasy world. The Navarii, whilst travelling on ship, decorate the walls with pictures of what has happened and things they have experienced. It’s not truly an extraneous detail, and feels right to read.
Price’s word choice is something I very much enjoy. Even during moments I did not enjoy, there is no denying the feeling of an epic writer. For the setting and the writing, I was swept away into finishing this book in one sitting.
My favorite character, and therefore my favorite chapters, were of Lady Noor the witch. I feel like she was the strongest character as well. While her own history took its time to uncover, I still empathized with her decisions even when I didn’t completely understand them all. For a stretch of the story, she was alone, having to hide herself in illusions so as not to be discovered, and had to make the most of her situation with said illusions.
I also enjoyed Maab and Enne. Shapeshifters and lovers, Enne’s lines to Fia about this and about what “home” meant to him were perhaps the most poignant in the book. The body language of the two in animal form, let alone in humanoid form, was a delight to read. Of secondary characters, I could feel their relationship and a history that I had no chance to read even more than I could with most of the main characters.
Which leads me to the problems I had with the novel. I will say here that some of them are definitely things I personally do not like, so if you enjoy or do not mind this, certainly put this further up on your list.
It isn’t a secret that Fia and the angel, Alexander, are the romantic leads in this book. It says as much in the book’s summary. What I dreaded was how immediate it was. Not the affair itself, as both did their best to put it off. But we missed when Alexander fell for Fia, because it happened before the book started. For Fia, part of it has to do with physical attraction (I had to keep reminding myself she just turned eighteen), but I couldn’t reconcile how her feelings for him became more important than her current situation. Especially before she actually got to know him better. For the most part, her perception of him was nice, hot, and sad. There is definitely more to him, as we read in his POV chapters. But for someone who just suffered a betrayal in her previous relationship, some (not all, mind) of her reactions to Alexander rankled. Again, this is one of my own pet peeves, one compounded when considering how nice it would have been to read at least about Alexander’s developing feelings in the scenes before the ones we got.
In this vein several other moments pricked me as off, mainly informed by this relationship forming. Right after Fia learns something about herself and decides not to tell Alexander about it, she says they both need to open up a little. There is no mention of her hypocrisy here, which I’d have found excusable. This secret Fia keeps doesn’t even make sense to keep, until she is threatened to keep it much later in the story. Then I was frustrated that this girl, who is smart and level headed in so many other ways, basically does this to herself.
With Fia and Alexander’s budding relationship, there is a moment as they travel that Alexander considers carrying her, but doesn’t. Then danger arrives. Why in the world did he not carry her to higher ground then? Instead we got a(n admittedly well written) fight scene that, frankly shouldn’t have happened. There was no reason that he shouldn’t have flown her out of danger right then. Other moments in the story it makes sense for him not to fly her, but not that one.
Alexander sends a couple of his fellow angels out scouting, and they do not return. When the group finds them, they are fine, needing to take care of something they found during their scouting. Except they know what danger everyone is in, so even if they felt the need to remain and take care of that business, they still should have gone and reported first to Alexander, who is their leader. It was stupid, irresponsible, but no one ever calls them out on it.
Near the end of the book, there is something that Fia tells Alexander she must do alone. While I’m not sure why that is a necessity and it feels more that the plot needs her to be alone, I accept this and read on. However, while alone, comes something that I think must have been accurate in a previous draft of the novel. Fia had “argued and pleaded” with Alexander to do this alone. Except what we read is her saying she “needs to do this alone” and him saying “if that’s what you want”.
This book does not need proofreading or line edits. It probably doesn’t even need as many developmental edits as I suggest here, though a few would certainly help. So much of this book is so well written, which is why it pains me that it hits so many of my pet peeves. If, after reading this review, you know those moments won’t bother you (or as much), I implore that you pick this book up. At least to read about Noor.