Welcome to my weekly segment, Waiting on Wednesday, where I look at upcoming books that I am planning to order and review in the next few months and which I think I will really enjoy. I run this segment in conjunction with the Can’t-Wait Wednesday meme that is currently running at Wishful Endings. Stay tuned to see reviews of these books when I get a copy of them. In my latest Waiting on Wednesday article I take a look at A Fool’s Hope by Mike Shackle, an intriguing upcoming fantasy novel that serves as a sequel to one of 2019’s best debuts.
Last year Mike Shackle burst onto the scene with the dark and exciting first entry in his The Last War fantasy series, We are the Dead, an outstanding read which followed a group of resistance fighters in a feudal Japan inspired fantasy nation that had been brutally conquered by its neighbours. I did not get a chance to read We are the Dead when it came out, but I finally managed to listen to an audiobook version of the book a couple of months ago. I absolutely loved its compelling story, damaged characters and intense action sequences, which resulted in an amazing and dark read. As a result, I am now really looking forward to seeing how the series continues, and I’ll soon get my chance as the sequel, A Fool’s Hope, is coming out later this year. A Fool’s Hope, which currently has a planned release in December 2020, looks set to continue the epic story started in We are the Dead, as the battle to free Jia from the Egril.
War takes everything.
From Tinnstra, it took her family and thrust her into a conflict she wanted only to avoid. Now her queen’s sole protector, she must give everything she has left to keep Zorique safe.
It has taken just as much from Jia’s revolutionaries. Dren and Jax – battered, tortured, once enemies themselves – now must hold strong against their bruised invaders, the Egril.
For the enemy intends to wipe Jia from the map. They may have lost a battle, but they are coming back. And if Tinnstra and her allies hope to survive, Jia’s heroes will need to be ready when they do.
The sequel to the darkly fantastic WE ARE THE DEAD: with more unflinching action, A FOOL’S HOPE sees Jia’s revolutionaries dig in their heels as they learn that wars aren’t won in a day.
I like the sound of this plot synopsis as it looks like A Fool’s Hope will continue to follow the main characters from the first novel, including the coward Tinnstra, the rebellious Dren and the damaged veteran Jax, as they play their part in the war against the Egril. Based on the synopsis and where the story concluded in We are the Dead, I imagine that the book will have some split storylines, particularly with Tinnstra and her charge, the princess Zorique, seeking refuge in a neighbouring country, while Dren and Jax will continue their guerrilla war back in Jia. No doubt this story will go in some new and dark directions as the inevitable Egril counterattack occurs and there will probably be some plots to take or corrupt Zorique which Tinnstra will have to deal with. It also seems likely that this second book will explore the origins and potential of this world’s magical system, particularly as Zorique has the potential to be a powerful magic user and I look forward to seeing how this plays into the story.
One of the best things about We are the Dead was the diverse collection of compelling point-of-view characters who the story was focused upon. Each of these characters was extremely damaged or broken due to the events of the war and all of them went through a lot of stuff in the first book, including torture, near-death experiences and immense growth as people. I am therefore excited to see more of these characters in A Fool’s Hope and it will be extremely interesting to see where each of their individual storylines ends up. You have to imagine that each of them will have to work through a lot of issues and trauma after the events of the first book and I look forward to seeing how they all develop. I will be intrigued to see how much the other two point-of-view characters from We are the Dead will feature in this novel considering that neither were mentioned in the plot synopsis. I will be particularly interested in seeing if the sadistic antagonist of the first book, the Egril Darus, returns for this second novel after he had his head chopped off (he has some fairly substantial regenerative powers, so I think he has a real possibility of coming back). However, if he does not, I am sure that Shackle will introduce another compelling and sinister antagonist for the story, perhaps the mysterious leader of the Egril himself. I cannot emphasise enough how much I am looking forward to diving back into the great storylines of this series’ fantastic characters, although I am a tad wary as We are the Dead had a rather high casualty rate and Shackle did sadistically hint when I reviewed his first book that some of the main characters may die in A Fool’s Hope. Still, I think I will have to risk getting my heart broken as I really want to see how the sequel ends up.
A Fool’s Hope looks set to be a strong fantasy release for the end of the year and I am really looking forward to seeing how this book unfolds. Based on how much fun I had reading the first novel in The Last War series, I know that I am going to have an incredible time reading A Fool’s Hope, and I cannot wait to see where Mike Shackle takes his fascinating story and captivating characters next. This upcoming book has an amazing amount of potential and I am really excited it read it in a few short months.