Book Review

The Ivory Tomb

The Ivory Tomb

  • Author: Melissa Caruso
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Publication Date: December 6, 2022 
  • Publisher: Orbit
  • Series: Rooks and Ruin #3

Thank you to Orbit and Angela Man for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

CONTENT WARNING: blood, violence, murder, gore, grief, torture

The Dark Days have returned. The Demon of Carnage mercilessly cuts through villages and armies. The Demon of Corruption rots the land. The Serene Empire and the Witch Lords race toward war. And in the middle of it all stands Ryxander, the Warden of Gloamingard.

Burdened by conflicting loyalties and guilt, Ryx searches desperately for a way to defeat the demons before the world she loves is completely destroyed. To find answers, she’ll have to return to where it all started: the black tower at the heart of Gloamingard.

By blood the Door was opened, and only by blood will the Dark Days end.

The Ivory Tomb is the exciting end to Rooks and Ruin, a spellbinding epic fantasy series bursting with intrigue, ambition, questioned loyalties, and broken magic.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a sucker for a pretty cover, and this series has absolutely nailed it with the covers. But the stories behind the covers pack a hell of a punch. After reading the first two books in this series, I was primed to dive into this one and find out what was going to happen and how this story was going to wrap up. And as excited as I was to fly through this and get to the end, I also wanted to drag my feet and stay in this world as long as possible. 

In this book, we’re thrust into chaos immediately. The world is on the brink of war, with all of the demons released from the Hells. While two have been temporarily contained, the ones still wandering around have some major problems, namely Carnage and Corruption. The Serene Empire and the Witch Lords are each preparing to attack each other, and naturally, Ryx is right in the middle of it. She’s trying to peacefully talk everyone down, and even with her skills at negotiation, it doesn’t necessarily look like she’s going to be successful. Plus, it doesn’t help that she always seems to turn situations into a hot mess anyway.

Through all of this, the bond between Ryx and Severin grows, and I was here for it. I really liked Severin’s character as soon as I saw through his mask, and watching them break down each other’s walls and accept all of each other’s broken pieces was a beautiful thing. 

“Maybe that was what it was to love someone—to cease to be fooled by their masks and their armor and their fancy footwork. To see the weak and trembling core of them, to know you could strike it true, and instead to protect it with everything you had.”

Even as we get to see how hurt Severin has really been by the way he grew up and has been treated, we also see how Ryx and Severin manage this through humor. There’s so many funny interactions between the two of them, and I really enjoyed the way that not just these two, but all of the characters get to use humor throughout the book. But while this interaction broke my heart, it also made me laugh a little:

“‘Seasons witness, Severin, is it so hard to understand I might want you around but also respect your choices?’ He opened his mouth, then shut it again. In an embarrassed sort of voice, he said, ‘Yes, actually.’”

In this book, Ryx has come to terms with her new reality, and is starting to integrate the two different sides of herself. She’s starting to see the world differently, and this makes her immensely valuable in resolving the conflict. And while the Rookery and others can see her value, there are some who don’t see it that way, and it puts not only the Rookery’s mission in danger, but also Ryx herself.

“This was how I’d always done things—defying the roles people tried to lock me into and carving out my own path, using the odd tools I had available to do what could.”

With all the chaos in the story, it made for an incredibly interesting read. There were plot twists galore, and a lot of action. There’s fights and battles, and of course there’s politics behind the scenes, both in the Witch Lord domains (which we get to see more of) and the Serene Empire, and I enjoyed getting to see more of the inner workings of this world. The world-building was fantastic, and it was expanded beautifully in this story. While I was concerned that it wasn’t going to be wrapped up in time, Caruso manages to tie all the loose ends together perfectly, providing closure to this rollercoaster ride of a trilogy.

People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.

Gasp Factor: 16

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