Sons of the Oak (The Runelords #5)

Sons of the Oak is an odd one. After saving the world in Lair of Bones, Gaborn and Iome are loaded with enough metabolism to curse them to die in the next few years–which ends up happening relatively early on. That of course leaves a power vacuum. There are those who would love to see the Earth King’s son take the crown–and just as many who’d rather see him dead and take power of their on. On top of that, there’s a whole new level of darkness in the world. From Loci to strengi-saats, it’s an ever darkening world, with the Torch of Humanity having been passed down to the next generation.

I don’t think I’ve actually finished this book before. The time skip made it hard to read and I just moved on. But this time around, I’ve actually really enjoyed it. We’ll have to see how it continues. I think reading it as an audiobook has helped. It just keeps going unless you actually stop rather than stopping unless you push on.

Plotwise, it’s okay. It’s not a hugely innovative tale–it’s a princes in exile story with pirates and coming of ages bits. But there are certainly hints of darkness and armageddon to come that are sure to spice things up. About 2/3 to 3/4 of the way through the book there’s a five year time skip. With how young the characters are, it makes sense, but it’s also really weird that it doesn’t end there and leave the rest for the next book. So it goes.

Characterwise, it works. We still get Borenson and Myrrima as main characters, although the former is without most of his endowments and the latter is still growing in her powers, along with their family. To that, we add the sons: Fallion and Jaz. Being ten (and fifteen after a timeskip) and seeing so much darkness–is a lot. Having elemental powers other than Earth and Water on the side of good is a potentially neat twist. But they certainly grew on me. Rhianna, another daughter of previous days is an interesting one too. Body horror oy, but it’s great to see her back.

One other neat bit was the return as Waggot–who’s a philosopher/tutor now? That’s a pretty neat callback.

I think my biggest annoyance with that is just how quickly Fallion scales up in power. Gaborn I suppose did much the same thing, and that turned out all right. But again? And powers that shouldn’t have even been possible across thousands of worlds? We’ll have to see.

Worldbuildingwise, there’s a lot of the same here, with elemental powers and endowments. But we also get a few more glimpses both at other races on this world and other worlds beyond measure. There are sea apes–which sound like monkeys that live in the water? Almost intelligent, probably self aware, and they can take endowments of wit to bring them to a low human level. That’s fascinating. As mentioned, digging more into Fire powers is pretty cool too.

Overall, a solid addition. I’m curious where it goes from here. Onward!