The Hidden Masters of Marandur is the second (audio) book in The Pillars of Reality by Jack Campbell. Narrated by MacLeod Andrews.
I liked first (audio) book, The Dragons of Dorcastle, but if I’m honest I wasn’t crazy about. Still, I decided to give this second (audio) book a chance; I’m very happy I did because I liked it and enjoyed a lot more.
At the end of The Dragons of Dorcastle Master Mechanic Mari and Mage Alain say goodbye thinking they will be safer apart than together; but after just couple of weeks they both realize their respective guilds don’t want the information they now possess to come to the light. Their guilds cannot openly kill them so they are both sent on impossible quests where their deaths will be imminent. With the realization that their guilds want them dead, and with not other ally, Mari finds Alain, and together they embark in an adventure that will take them to the lost city of Marandur, where they are hoping to find the information they need to fight their guilds.
Although I liked Mari more this time around, her stubbornness and emotional outbursts frustrate me at times. I know she is young and many secrets and truths have been dropped on her, so I’m okay giving her some space and time to grow and accept her new circumstances. I just hope she will be more mature in third book.
Alain continues to be my favorite character and the one I consider has grown the most. I loved seeing him learning social skills and also learning to see the differences between what he learned at the Mage guild and what it is true. His social inadequacies provide the humor relief and a cute factor (if I can call it that) to the story.
The chemistry that was lacking between Mari and Alain in previous book is easily felt in this one. It was clear they both have feelings for each other and are working –innocently- towards a more permanent relationship.
In this installment we are introduced to new and interesting characters, some of them I’m sure will play important roles in books to come.
The story is fast paced and with enough action to keep you glued to the pages (your headphones) wanting to know what is coming next for Mari and Alain. The world building is further developed with the inclusion of the city and the Masters of Maradur. Along them we also learn some historical facts and secrets that will be further explore in next book.
The Hidden Masters of Marandur is great second book. I can honestly say it surpasses its predecessor and left me dying to get my hands on next audiobook in the series.
MacLeod Andrews does an excellent job with the narration. In previous audiobook I had problems with his female voices, I’m happy to say I didn’t have that problem with The Hidden Masters of Marandur.
One thing that Andrews shines at is to the delivery of emotion or lack of it according to the characters and that’s something very important with a story like this one.