The New York Times bestselling author of the Novels of the Others invites you enter the realm of Ephemera, a place that is ever-changing, caught between the Light and Dark forces of the heart…
Long ago, Ephemera was split into a dizzying number of magical lands—connected only by bridges that may take you where you truly belong, rather than where you had intended to go. In one such land, where night reigns and demons dwell, the half-incubus Sebastian revels in dark delights. But in dreams she calls to him: a woman who wants only to be safe and loved—a woman he hungers for while knowing he may destroy her. And an even more devastating destiny awaits him, for an ancient evil is stirring—and Sebastian’s realm may be the first to fall…
“We came from lands all across Ephemera to fight the Eater of the World, but now that the world has become a confusion of shuffled, broken pieces, we can no longer find the places we called home.”
Well now. This was fantastic. I’ve read Bishop’s The Others and The Black Jewels, so I wasn’t really certain what to expect. Indeed, I did go in blind without reading the description. Ephemera appears that it could be the better of the three, depending on how it ends! I was absolutely enthralled by the worldbuilding, and the characters were fun, too.
The worldbuilding was very literal this time around. There are a group of people can literally change the world to how they want it to be. It is fascinating, and completely new to me. I’m sure it exists out there, but I haven’t seen it before. Everyone is able to travel between the landscapes, but they have to be careful about it because their desires can overcome their needs. Everything about the worldbuilding is based on the heart, and the person you are inside.
Then there is the ancient terror. The Eater of the World has been released. Then there is also something called The Dark Guides, who are tied somehow to The Eater of the World. The way this mystery unfolds is incredibly interesting. Everything is all connected together. The Landscapers, way the world is broken into its parts, The Dark Guides, the Eater of the World. Yet, the way they’re tied together is fascinating and not at all what I expected when starting trying to figure it out.
The world seems to be split in two, though. The humans, who believe it is their right to be the only sentient creatures, and the demons, who are persecuted everywhere. There are several different types. It is interesting that there aren’t other types of humans, though. The world seems to be split into the darker elements and the “lighter” elements, all across the landscapes. I’m more interested in the demons that I ever will be about the humans in this world.
The characters are interesting. They aren’t as powerful as the ones in The Black Jewels. They aren’t as innocent as the ones in The Others. They are like a cross between the two. Sebastian and Lynnea are my most interesting because I’m a sucker for people who have had their life being shit on. Sebastian has real world knowledge (and carnal knowledge, too!), but Lynnea is super innocent and it is adorable the same way Meg is adorable in The Others. Belladonna is the super powerful one who will change the world, like Jaenelle, but still different and less omniscient than Jaenelle.
As always with an Anne Bishop story, we also get the perspective of the bad guys. The people are, as always, a bit comical when we see from their perspective. The Eater of the World though was incredibly fascinating. It changes over the course of the book. It grows. It fears. It dreams. I love the addition of the Eater of the World’s point of view.
Anne Bishop tends to take a topic that is hard to deal with and makes it the focus of her story. In The Others, it was self harm. In The Black Jewels, it was sexual abuse. This time it is child abuse. Luckily it isn’t the full focus, but a background knowledge that this has happened. In Sebastian, there are several different forms of child abuse, covering a range of presentations. As always with an Anne Bishop story, I like these topics, because hopefully they show someone that they should speak up when they see it happening, and help someone who needs it.
For a story that focuses on an incubus, there sure isn’t any sex in this book! There is a lot of talking around it. Nude statues. An absolutely delightfully comical scene involving penis shaped bread dipped in melted cheese with a very innocent girl. They talked about it quite a bit. Yet, there was no sex shown at all. What a tease!
I enjoyed the hell out of this book, and I’m so looking forward to the next!
To read more reviews for this series, check out the Ephemera series page!