Average rating: 89 points/100 (4.75/5 stars)
Complete series with 3 books and a novella
Genres: dark fantasy, fantasy
Ephemera is a world broken into Landscapes that are only connected by bridges that transport you based on will and your heart between them. Sebastian is an incubus, reviled and cast out of human society for being a demon. Glorianna Belladonna is a rogue Landscaper, feared for being too good at controlling and shaping the landscape of Ephemera. And, The Eater of the World has been released.
I enjoyed reading Ephemera. The world is amazing, the people are great, the plot is interesting. Bishop once again writes a series I thoroughly enjoyed reading. This time it didn’t get dragged on until it lost itself, though. 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. Sebastian started off really good, but something about the series just didn’t capture what I felt during book one and keep it going through all three books.
There are three books, the first two came out one after the other. Then there is a novella, The Voice, that is a direct tie in to the third book. Both the novella and book three come out 5 years after the first two books. Sebastian and Belladonna work well together and it does have a solid end. Bridge of Dreams is nice to have, even if it wasn’t “necessary”.
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, and their heart can override everything. 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 to The Eater of the World and influence it the way Landscapers influence Ephemera. As always with an Anne Bishop story, we also get the perspective of the bad guys. The Eater of the World was incredibly fascinating to see through its own eyes as the story played out.
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 has real world knowledge (and carnal knowledge, too!), 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. Belladonna’s brother, Lee, is the one that kind of gets left out until he gets his own book, when he goes through some trials. The secondary characters, like in every other Anne Bishop series I’ve read, were real fun to know.
The heart of the series is great. I love the interplay between the light and the dark. It is a tale told a hundred thousand times before. Yet, somehow, Bishop manages to make this interplay, this balance worth reading again. Part of it is because of the inclusion of the perspective from the Eater of the World. The balance between light and the dark and the way it influence the world of Ephemera also make it incredibly interesting.
Ephemera wasn’t about the grand story. The series focused more on life, and the family we have been introduced to more than anything. It is just the little evils, that we face every day. The darkness in the heart of every man, woman and child. It is about healing from the wounds you take and coming to terms with the way you are. It is about the good and the bad within everyone.
Check this out if:
* you like powerful characters who are in the thick of everything
* you like a villain who is actually evil
* you love families who stick together and support each other through everything
Don’t bother if:
* you want each book to always be focused on the monster trying to eat the world and nothing else