Title: The Phoenix Priest
Author: Cassidy Clarke
Series: Blood & Water Saga #2
Audience: New Adult
Length: 779 pages
Release Date: April 22, 2022
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Recommended for fans of: epic fantasy
Content Warnings: grief, death, murder, alcoholism
Elias Loch has nothing left to believe in.
After the loss of his battlemate, all he wants is to go home to Nyx and lose himself to grief. But when the Goddess of Death summons him to Artem, a kingdom of fire and steel, he finds himself plunged into a series of trials to earn him and his princely companion an audience with Artem’s Empress—trials that will force him to confront what it truly means to have faith in his goddess…and himself.
Finnick Atlas is playing a game against the gods, and he’s used up all his cheats.
Burdened by his new title and the two gods walking his halls, he needs to be at the top of his game to keep control over his kingdom. But with a maddening magic threatening to steal what’s left of his sanity, a goddess puppeting his little sister’s body for nefarious ends, and an arranged marriage with the Queen of Lapis looming on the horizon, he’s running out of sleeves to slip aces into. Luckily, a new friend from the Lapisian delegation may just be the key to winning all his games…if he can trick a worshipper of the Trickster Goddess.
Soren Nyx can’t seem to die.
Trapped inside her own body, she has only one goal left: to keep Anima, Goddess of Life, from seeing into her memories and finding her family’s weaknesses. But retreating into the depths of her own mind has unintended consequences, and with the help of an old friend, Soren must navigate the lost memories of her childhood as Soleil, all with one question in mind: will she finally give in to the death that’s been chasing her since girlhood, or will she rise again as someone new?
It’s difficult for me to coherently express my love for this book. The sequel to The Saltwater Heir did not disappoint AT ALL, building off the momentum from the shocking and heartbreaking ending of book 1 to…more shocks and heartbreak.
I am optimistic that my babies Finn and Elias (and Kallias and Soren…okay I love them all) will be happy someday…but they have not reached that part of their journey yet. They really go through the ringer in this book. It hurts but it just makes me love this series even more as the portrayals of grief are so raw and real. There is still enough banter and humor to balance out the heavy emotions, and the Kallias/Elias bromance is everything to me.
I love the world building in this book, visiting new kingdoms, learning more about the gods’ backstories, discovering magical creatures (including a dragon who lives in a bakery!), and developing the elemental(ish) magic system. Cassidy Clarke does a great job of writing complicated and conflicted characters, so that even the villains earn some sympathy.
This had more romance than the first book with additional Atlas siblings getting love interest (with some of my favorite tropes). Keep in mind, this is a fantasy series with romantic subplots, NOT a fantasy romance series.
This is my new favorite series and I need everyone to read it so I have more than two people to talk to about it. Available on Kindle Unlimited!