Return to New York Times bestselling author Anne Bishop’s Ephemera, a world of strange and magical landscapes connected only by bridges—bridges that may transport you where you truly belong, rather than where you wish to go.
When wizards threaten Glorianna Belladonna and her work to keep Ephemera balanced, her brother, Lee, sacrifices himself in order to save her—and ends up an Asylum inmate in the city of Vision, far away from all he knows.
But a darkness is spreading through Vision, perplexing the Shamans who protect it—and Lee is the only one who can shed any light on its mysteries…
“What just happened?”
“The world has been given a new toy, and you and I are in charge of supervising playtime.”
Bridge of Dreams wasn’t needed in the Ephemera series, yet it is much appreciated. This comes five years after Belladonna, which leaves us with a satisfying ending. You can guess how things would have gone from there. Yet, this story is appreciated, because we like to see everything wrapped up in a tidy bow.
Ephemera has never been about the grand story. The series has focused more on life, and the family we have been introduced to more than anything. This doubly true with Bridge of Dreams, since there is no real big evil to defeat anymore, that is gone. Now it is just the little evils, that we face every day. The darkness in the heart of every man, woman and child. Sometimes, though, this makes for a bit of a boring story, like when Lee is taking a vacation in the Asylum.
Technically, there is a novella, The Voice, that comes before this story. It introduces a few characters. However, I don’t feel like you need to read it prior to Bridge of Dreams at all. It is an amazing story, though, and I really do recommend it if you have been enjoying this series.
This is a much more harsh, dark book than the last two. Lee is struggling with his life, and the feelings he has for those around him. He is mad at everyone, but he is mad at himself, too. His entire family feels like they are losing him, and he feels like he is losing them. So what happens? He is taken from them, tortured, crippled, and locked away where he never knows what will actually happen to him long term. It is rough, and it is difficult to read. Anne Bishop does dark fantasy very well.
Bridge of Dreams adds something new to the Ephemera world, the Tryad. I find this race incredibly interesting (and sort of aggravating because not all my questions about how this race even functions is answered!). It is a race where there are three distinct people, who have their own likes, dislikes, and even looks, who share a common core body. How cool is that?? Also how does anything get done! I already feel like I don’t have enough time for me, and there is only one of me! The book brings up some…interesting sexual questions, too. They aren’t answered.
Sholeh Zeela a Zhara is part of this Tyrad race, yet she doesn’t quite fit with them in the way sometimes just don’t fit where they came from in Ephemera. The problem is, is that the place the Tryad come from is cast adrift from the rest of Ephemera, and their land is dying because of it. This is the first time we’ve come across any place in Ephemera that has no ties anywhere, and it has some interesting implications with it. Especially since their race is so biased against everyone else.
The Shaman Danyal is interesting, and we meet him in The Voice for the first time. He is a lot like Michael. Doesn’t know what he is, exactly, until Lee tells him. He has changed into this new type of Shaman, he wasn’t always this. It makes it harder to learn how to have the control necessary. Danyal is a very good man, who has to make some hard choices. Sometimes good men can be boring, though.
Ephemera is more of a character in Bridge of Dreams than the first two. It is adorable. It is like a small child that everyone has to look after and everyone loves. It is very mischievous. I loved the Eater of the World as a character, and I love Ephemera. Wonder what that says about me.
Overall, this is more a story of healing. It isn’t about defeating some big bag anymore. That has been done, the Eater of the World has been contained once again. This is the aftermath. Glorianna has to heal, to become whole again. The world has to heal, from the evils it endured, even if they were only for a short time. Everyone to come together again to be a family. Plus, there are hardly any Landscapers left, so everyone left is having to take on more than they should and it is a strain. I wish more stories would focus on healing the aftermath, than pretending that everything is happily ever after right after it ends.
I really enjoyed Bridge of Dreams, and I really enjoyed Ephemera. It has been such an interesting, wild journey.
To read more reviews for this series, check out the Ephemera series page!