Nav’Aria: The Pyre of Tarsin (Nav'Aria book 2) by KJ Backer
Afraid. Ashamed. Enraged. A torrent of emotions course through Darion in this suspenseful sequel. How will he survive this grief? How could he leave without saying goodbye? And how can he make sure Narco suffers the same way he’s made others suffer? Returning to Nav’Aria has led to nothing but trouble… and more questions. Narco’s toxic hold has only strengthened. His forces—Rav’Arian and Troll—are amassing as the final fight draws near. The Kingdom’s fate looks bleak, and yet, the true Marked King and unicorns of Kaulter are resolved. They will no longer succumb to Narco’s evil. They will stand, and they will fight. The answers to Narco’s enigmatic powers lurk in the most unlikely of places as Darion will soon discover across the Shazla Desert, along with his companions Triumph, Edmond, and Soren. The only question is, will he be able to find the answers to uproot Narco before all hope is lost?
*Spoilers ahead for books 1 and 2 in this series. You can find my review of Nav'Aria: The Marked Heir here.
Pyre of Tarsin picks off shortly after The Marked Heir ends. After a brief, but very intriguing prologue, readers pick right back up with Darion, Triumph, Edmond, and Soren as they make their way across the desert — a feat no one has knowingly accomplished in many years. Meanwhile, back in Kaulter, the royal family and unicorn council plan out their next move against Narco. But, Narco may have a secret that could bring the rightful king and his supporters to their knees...
I love everything KJ Backer did in this book! Not only did she expand her world by adding the desert and what lies across it, but she takes a deep dive into some very noteworthy characters’ backgrounds and motivations. She also introduces dragons—I mean Reouls! This was an amazing sequel that further establishes the Nav’Arian world and all the characters within it, drawing them that much closer to this series’ main conflict.
Similar to The Marked Heir, family ties play an important role in Pyre of Tarsin — for humans and creatures alike. Readers still hear pieces of Darion’s inner turmoil surrounding his birth parents and the ones who raised him, yet both sets remain loving and supportive of him. Even when he disappears into the desert. Without telling anyone but his friends. Triumph also experiences a parental connection as the story moves along and we’re introduced to another of Narco’s prisoners, and what a twist that was!
Backer also steps up the action in this second installment with a few sneak attacks, a daring escape, and a full-on battle. She pays attention to the mechanics of swinging a sword or deflecting blows, and she certainly doesn’t shy away from how gruesome and gory battle is (specifically thinking of a certain prison scene in the book). The detailed and immersive fighting scenes do a phenomenal job pulling the reader ever deeper into the story and providing a much heightened sense of danger.
All I can say is, I need book three! I can’t wait to see how this series ends because Backer has done a masterful job setting the stage for an epic conclusion that will hopefully set things right for the Marked Heir!
For more on KJ Backer and her Nav’Aria series, check out her website.