Book Review: The Twisted Citadel

The Twisted Citadel

Sara Douglass
Mass Market Paperback, 672 pages
HarperCollins Publishers
May 01, 2009


The Twisted Citadel is the second book in the Darkglass Mountain trilogy, which can be read alone but I highly recommend starting with her Wayfarer Redemption series.  I noticed that the characters kept alluding to some really big events that I missed since I haven’t read the last three books in that series yet.   On a side note, it’s kind of confusing, but the six books in that series were actually written as two separate trilogies (The Axis trilogy and the Wayfarer Redemption trilogy), but in the U.S. they were published as a six-book series instead.  Anyway…

Kanubai, the evil god of chaos, has been devoured by the glass pyramid that imprisoned him and something much worse has risen in his place. Styling himself the One, the physical manifestation of Infinity walks in the guise of a man with skin made of green glass.  After the skraelings pledge their allegiance to him, Maxel, Ishbelle, Axis, and Isaiah quickly surmise that this new enemy they face is much more powerful and dangerous than Kanubai ever was.

The One unleashes millions of skraelings to wreak havoc on Isembaard, and Maxel’s army splinters into factions as soldiers fear for their families left behind.  Maxel, having fully accepted his role as Lord of Elcho Falling, continues north toward Serpent’s Next – Ishbelle’s former home – where he will attempt to raise the lost citadel. 

The knowledge needed to unlock the key to raise Elcho Falling has been passed down for generations, but so much time has past that Maxel fears he won’t be able to access enough memories to succeed.  He looks for strength in Ishbelle, despite the countless prophecies and warnings that she will cause his demise and bring the world to ruin. 

The Lealfast, a race that is half Icari and half scraeling, want nothing more than to form a nation of their own and rid themselves of their halfling identity, and they will stop at nothing to achieve their goals – even betraying their allegiance to Maxel and joining forces with the One. 

As the group nears Elcho Falling, loyalties are tested, enemies are engaged, and Maxel and Ishbelle must make a choice that will either save or doom mankind.

I’m really enjoying this series so far, and this book kept the momentum going and held my interest all the way to the end.  I was very upset to learn that the third book isn’t out yet and I’ll have to wait to see what happens.  I’m still invested in the characters and what I love about the writing style is that I always know what motivates their actions. 

The only parts that were slow for me were the ones that focused on Armat – I just couldn’t get into his character for some reason.  I’m not sure if it was because he wasn’t a central character from the start or that I didn’t get a feel for his back story.  Whatever the case, I just couldn’t connect with him and I found myself reading his chapters quickly so I could get back to Axis or Maxel. 

Also, I couldn’t stand Ravenna and her incessant pleading with Maxel to set Ishbelle aside before she doomed them all.  I don’t know if that was the idea, but after a while I was thinking if she mentions that prophetic vision or how she loves Maxel and is only trying to save him one more time I would scream.

From the beginning of the first book I wasn’t really sure what to make of Ishbelle.  At times I sympathized with her but didn’t really like her, and other times I was rooting for her all the way.  By the end of this book, however, she won me over completely.  All it took was once scene of ruthless, gutsy badassery to do the trick. 

Axis, I’ve loved from the first Wayfarer Redemption book and I just found out that Maxel is actually a character in a standalone book about his seventeen years as a slave in the mines, called Beyond the Hanging Wall.  I’ll definitely be checking that one out!

Overall, I highly recommend the first two books in this trilogy, as well as the Axis trilogy, to any and all fantasy readers!


1 Comment »

  1. Dionne Said:

    I LOVED the Wayfarer Redemption, and I am so glad to hear that there are 6 of them, mwuhahahaha! I stayed up way too late last night finishing it (and then couldn’t sleep for even longer because I was so energized by the story), and I can’t wait to finish my work for the day before I can go buy the second one. Thanks so much for recommending it to me! 🙂

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