Rune Saint John, last child of the fallen Sun Court, is hired to search for Lady Judgment’s missing son, Addam, on New Atlantis, the island city where the Atlanteans moved after ordinary humans destroyed their original home.
With his companion and bodyguard, Brand, he questions Addam’s relatives and business contacts through the highest ranks of the nobles of New Atlantis. But as they investigate, they uncover more than a missing man: a legendary creature connected to the secret of the massacre of Rune’s Court.
In looking for Addam, can Rune find the truth behind his family’s death and the torments of his past?
I am currently rereading Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings, and needed a break after the very emotional ending of Royal Assassin. The Last Sun proved to be the best palate cleanser possible, with a fast-paced and humorous style that kept me engaged and entertained. Think Scott Lynch’s dialogues, mixed with Max Gladstone’s over-the-top (in the best possible way) worldbuilding.
In other words, this book is fun.
First, let’s talk worldbuilding. I very much enjoy the “maximalistic” approach to urban fantasy, where we have a lot of cool concepts boldly mixed. The story is peppered with all these elements that make the setting vibrantly different, while still retaining the familiarity of our world. A political system based on Tarot cards. A magic system where internal strength and meditation help recharge invaluable sigils with spells. Death magic with summonings and nightmarish creatures looming, fresh (or not…) out of the grave. It’s all extremely entertaining and well-crafted.
A cool setting is just a fancy wallpaper if there are no good characters to bring it to life. And the characters in The Last Sun are amazing. Rune, our lead, is a damaged young man who lost his family and his home to a violent raid years before. As the last surviving member of a fallen court, he doesn’t burden himself with regrets about what he used to be, what he used to have. But he still carries the weight of trauma (I should mention, TW for rape descriptions in the book).
Rune is at the centre of a rich nexus of relationships. First with Brand, his Companion, bodyguard and partner. These two have the best interactions, with hilarious banter and deep, sincere caring. The Last Sun is shelved as romance on Goodreads, but the bond between Rune and Brand is the strongest relationship in the book. It’s…bromance on steroids, if that makes sense?
The secondary characters are all lovely additions – we have a young scion who reminds Rune of himself. A formidable power-player in the political and magical shenanigans who is Rune’s employer/mentor (by the way, powerful masterminds who are on the protagonist’s side but we don’t really know their motives? big trope turn-on). Not one but two eccentric Seers. And an adorable love interest. I had my “where are the women” moment, but honestly…a band of men kicking ass while being vulnerable and caring? As the young say, I’m here for it.
The plot is partly resolved by the end of the book, but Edwards also laid the groundwork for an overreaching story. Rune is hiding something, and a lot of things are hidden from Rune, especially regarding his past and his powers. There are secrets and plots to entangle, and the author has planned 9 books in total to tell this bigger, murkier story. If the sequels are half as good as this first book, sign me up. The second one, The Hanged Man, is out next September.
Big thanks to Kristen (Superstardrifter) for recommending this book to me! Go check out her review. And her entire blog, because she’s amazing.
I’d recommend the Last Sun to people who enjoy:
- Urban Fantasy
- Fun, almost video-games-like magic systems
- Cool magic battles
- Beautiful relationships, bromances, found families
- Banter-y and hilarious dialogue