It’s no secret that The Oremere Chronicles has a special place in my heart. The first book, Heart of Mist, enchanted me with its well developed characters and riveting premise. I even wrote a Book Talk on Heart of Mist about writing with empathy – one of my favorite blog posts to date. The sequel, Reign of Mist, did not disappoint with all shocking twists and raised stakes. Check out my review of that book here.
When the third book was announced, War of Mist, I was ecstatic and terrified at the same time. One of my favorite fantasy series was coming to an end… and the blood red cover and the ominous title could only be a harbinger of inevitable heartbreak.
After essentially devouring the book in a span of three days, I was SHOOK. Did I finish War of Mist or did War of Mist finish me?
Title: War of Mist
Author: Helen Scheuerer
Publisher: Talem Press
Publication date: 15 July 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
War is here.
Toxic mist drives all life to the brink of destruction and the conqueror queen, Ines, has her talons in the kings of the realm.
Bleak, having discovered her true heritage, must now scour the lands for the one thing that might save them all.
But the search is a treacherous one – and it will push her to the very limits of endurance.
Amidst secrets, lies and the intricacies of battle, Bleak and her companions learn just how far they’ll go for the ones they love. But will it be enough?
As deadly forces grapple for power across the continents, families, friends and allies unite to take one final stand.
Explosive revelations, heart-wrenching betrayals and breathtaking magic soar in the epic conclusion to Helen Scheuerer’s bestselling trilogy, The Oremere Chronicles.
Final Journey Into the Mist
My god, words can’t begin to describe this powerful, action-packed finale. I seriously lost myself in War of Mist that I didn’t even notice my eyes straining to see in the dwindling daylight. Whenever I’d resurface to the real world, it took me a few embarrassing seconds to remember that I’m not in Oremere or Havennesse or Ellest. Then I’d feel disappointed but also relieved. I really wouldn’t want to live in a place where the insidious Ines has her talons on every corner of the world.
Since this is the last book of the series, there was a lot of previous plot threads finally coming together. Characters that hadn’t met before were acquainted with each other, and characters that hadn’t seen the other for months were reunited at long last. I won’t give out any spoilery details, of course, but just know that your heart will burst with so much cuteness.
War of Mist also show us just how evil – and she truly was that – the series’ villain was. It was terrifying to know just how far Ines’s reach had gone. Many times throughout the course of the book, there was a distinct feeling of the walls closing in since there didn’t seem to be a single place in the world that wasn’t blighted by the witch. The first and second book gave us hints and glimpses of the real antagonist but this last book showed us just what sort of nightmare the main characters were truly up against.
Speaking of the main characters…
Character Development *chef’s Kiss*
My absolute favorite aspect about this fantasy series has always been the characters. There’s four POV main characters and I love all of them… almost equally. Swinton was sort of my problem child but we’ll get to him in a moment.
Each and every main character has grown so much over the course of three books. What’s better is that their individual character development didn’t feel superficial or disingenuous. Characters genuinely felt like people who’ve gone through a long and arduous journey and have learned important lessons and improved themselves. The character development was realistic and organic which made me feel really proud to see them become better versions of themselves.
Bleak is the best example, I’d say. She went from a desperate drunkard that the village detests to a proactive leader that everyone respects and admires. The glow-up is REAL. Not only is she more in control of her mind whispering power, she uses it with great care and consideration, never invading other people’s thoughts unless absolutely necessary or with their full consent. I love her so much.
Meanwhile, Henri has grown from strict traditionalist to a leader more considerate of new ideas. Henri still takes great pride in the Valian way but she learned that some of their traditions greatly stifle her people’s progress and Henri wants only what’s best for Valia. She’s also finally able to let herself be vulnerable for once. Warrior queen she might be but she’s still human.
Dash’s journey is more outward than anything. I can’t really talk about it as much as I’d like without spoiling Reign of Mist but let’s just say that Dash had to abandon his carefree childhood abruptly and he bore it like a champ. He’s a good lad, is what I’m saying.
Finally there’s Swinton. Oh… Dimitri Swinton. I admit that I didn’t always care for him, especially in the first book. I didn’t dislike him nor did I not enjoy his story. However, because he was such a sneaky snake, I couldn’t trust him. I felt for him, of course. When it was revealed that the atrocities he committed he did out of pure fear for those he loves, I understood why he’d feel like he had no choice. Fear had always been Swinton’s mortal enemy and I’m overjoyed to say that he managed to slay that demon in this final installment. His redemption arc was so satisfying that even though I still poke fun at him, I couldn’t help but love him in the end.
The Price of War
With such a sinister title as War of Mist, it’s almost guaranteed that there’s going to be more than just a few casualties. To not have anyone die in a war would have been too convenient to be realistic. And while each death was a knife to my gut, I could understand why those characters in particular died.
Naturally I’m not going to make a list of characters who perished in this book. I would however like to commend Scheuerer for not merely killing off beloved characters for pure shock value. Each character death made sense narratively (at least in my opinion) and they were handled with great tact and grace.
Don’t get me wrong, I still grieved for those fallen characters but I didn’t – couldn’t – resent the author for taking them away. They were too well written and their arcs had reached a point where it made sense for their journeys to end early.
Rebuild and Move On
The last thing that I want to talk about is the overall powerful message of this book. From what I read, War of Mist is all about the idea of rising up from the ashes and moving past what torments you. Almost all the main characters had to bear a burden for many years, eventually isolating them from the people they care about. Again, and this might be my bias showing but Bleak is a great example. She literally saw herself as a gutter rat in the first book because of her self-destructive habits (which turned out to be her only way to cope with so many people’s thoughts in her head).
Throughout the series, the main characters endured so much pain and hardships and even when things seemed to be in their favor, it would only be the calm before the storm. Only when they joined forces were they able to defeat the malevolent Ines. And yeah, sure, the whole ‘teamwork makes the dream work’ is an obvious enough message but even now you’d be surprised at how many people are willing to isolate themselves and shun those around them when trouble comes. Local and international news have proven to us time and time again that the world is not a friendly place and it’s every man for himself. It’s depressing.
This is why The Oremere Chronicles is so dear to me. Not only are the characters so painfully human, the books encourage readers to be vulnerable, to be compassionate, to lend a helping hand when needed (even if the person doesn’t think they need it). War of Mist, in particular, tells us that old scars will heal if you give yourself the time and the care for it. The Oremere books are really quite uplifting. You’d be doing yourself a great disservice if you don’t read this fantastic series.
I read plenty of high fantasy book series and a good portion of them don’t really leave a lasting impression on me but The Oremere Chronicles is a series that I doubt I’ll ever forget.
Get a chance to win audiobook copies of Reign of Mist and War of Mist by joining the international giveaway!
Join us this Saturday, July 20, for the War of Mist Twitter Chat hosted by @CaffeineTours. The fun starts at 9PM PHT / 9AM EST.
About the Author:
After writing literary fiction for a number of years, Helen Scheuerer was inspired to return to her childhood love of fantasy thanks to novels like Throne of Glass, The Queen’s Poisoner, and The Queen of the Tearling.
Helen is also the Founding Editor of Writer’s Edit, an online learning platform for emerging writers. In its first year, Writer’s Edit reached thousands of new authors, and soon became its own small press, with Helen overseeing the production and publication of three creative writing anthologies. It’s now one of the largest writing websites in the world.
Helen now lives by the mountains of New Zealand and writes full time. She has many more books planned for the future.