Book #33: Split the Party by Drew Hayes

Fleeing from a vengeful king has sent the former NPCs across Solium’s borders, into the kingdom of Alcatham. As wanted fugitives, they head to the small farming village of Briarwillow, hoping to blend in, lay-low, and avoid trouble at all costs.

Unfortunately, Briarwillow has problems all its own, and its troubles quickly become theirs. If they hope to survive long enough to escape, they’ll have to tackle an all-but-forgotten mystery buried at the town’s border, as well as seek the wisdom of a mysterious group of mages.

With time, magic, and at least one god against them, it will take everything they’ve got to save Briarwillow, and themselves.

After listening to the first book in the Spells, Swords, and Stealth series, I jumped into buying the second one. I did listen to a few other books before jumping into this audiobook and I am glad for the wait . . . kind of.

I mean, is it great that I waited only to want to jump into the third book (I haven’t . . . yet). I had a serious bout of audiobook hangover. I wanted to read another fantasy right away, but I didn’t want to pursue the third book because there isn’t another one out there yet. I’m not ready to leave the characters or waiting for their story to continue.

Split the Party begins where the first book ends. Our heroes are on the lam and are in a new country. In our reality, the gamers are setting up a new game set in the same country. The gamers decide on one route while our heroes go through another.

As I was listening, I was wondering how the heroes will meet up with the other group in the book and was surprised by that outcome. It makes sense how Hayes does it and it leads onto more questions needing answers for the later books.

For our heroes, something happens to a small town they decide to venture into. Due to Paladin issues, the party has to split up. One side goes for help while the others wait and see what the mystery is with the town.

You get to see more about the world and the dynamics of a mage guild as well as see more crazy ideas from the party members. I was hanging off the edge of my seat during many scenes (Grumph’s trial is a good one). The ending is definitely no exception.

I found myself almost to tears screaming at a character’s decision. Whereas I know where he was coming from, my heart jerked at this moment.

There is some secondary characters who seem more than what they appear. Fritz, the traveling merchant, is one of those characters. She is a merchant, but has an uncanny ability to see the potential in people. Just who is she really? It’s just another question that will be left open for future books.

There is one book left, but I’m not sure if it is the last or not. Just that right now, there are only three in the series. I don’t know how long I’ll be able to hold myself back before I listen to it. I already bought it.

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