Series: The Songs of the Drowned #2 (See my review of book one here!)
Release Date: February 16th 2023
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars
The Empire of Songs reigns supreme. Across all the lands of Ixachipan, its hypnotic, magical music sounds. Those who battled against the Empire have been enslaved and dispersed, taken far from their friends and their homes.
In the Singing City, Xessa must fight for the entertainment of her captors. Lilla and thousands of warriors are trained to serve as weapons for their enemies. And Tayan is trapped at the heart of the Empire’s power and magic, where the ruthless Enet’s ambition is ever growing.
Each of them harbours a secret hope, waiting for a chance to strike at the Empire from within.
But first they must overcome their own desires. Power can seduce as well as crush. And, in exchange for their loyalty, the Empire promises much.
Anna Stephens is back with the next installment in her brilliant Songs of the Drowned series and we pick up with our main characters two years after the events of The Stone Knife – Lilla is a slave warrior, training to be part of the biggest and most ruthless army the world has ever known. He secretly hopes to spark a rebellion amongst his fellow slaves, but how can they overcome the might of the Empire? Xessa is a slave in the fighting pits, tasked with providing entertainment to those she despises, she knows she will never get out alive, but can she help her fellow Tokob survive long enough to claim freedom? Tayan is stuck in the heart of the Empire, surrounded by the most ruthless and power hungry people, but the Singer’s magic speaks to him in a way no one thought possible – can he survive long enough to understand how to wield it? Meanwhile, on the other side of the conflict, Pilos and Enet are at each other’s throats, each one determined to outwit the other.
Anna Stephens is one of my favourite authors so this book was one of my most anticipated releases for 2023. It has all the things that I love about her books – incredible world building, an intriguing plot with some surprises I didn’t see coming, and brilliant, complex characters you can’t help but become attached to. Despite the book being over 600 pages I raced through this and I am already desperate for more. Stephens has created such an interesting world in this series. The magic is so fascinating and I loved learning more about the song and the world as the story progressed.
I would say that this is a bit more on the slower paced side compared to The Stone Knife, but if anything that gives the reader the chance to become even more attached to the characters. It was fascinating to see how things changed for the characters compared to book one and there was so much growth and evolution for them. I absolutely adore Xessa (and Ossa), she is one of my favourite characters and I am terrified of how things might go for her in book three. All of the POV characters are really fascinating and I really liked Enet’s chapters as she’s so ruthless and determined to make all her plans come to fruition.
Just like The Stone Knife, The Jaguar Path is dark, gritty and has more than a few gruesome moments. Stephens does a brilliant job writing dynamic fighting scenes, with moments that practically leap off the page. I enjoyed every second of this book and I cannot wait to see how the story ends.