(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)
The Dragon Court has ruled Tiamut uncontested for millennia, bringing knowledge and prosperity to all.
Yet all is not as it seems—far to the West in the land of Undal, mightiest of the nations, the Royal Queen and her children are struck with a mysterious illness and perish. Was the Dragon Court responsible? Or had the Queen had been experimenting with dark magic?
Her grieving son, trained in the dark arts by the goddess Eris herself, swears vengeance. When he defies the Dragon Court and they rescind their blessing on his royal house, he must turn to his mother’s experiments and ancient blood rituals to achieve his aims. In his quest for truth, he will become the greatest threat Tiamut has ever known.
With details pulled directly from Plato (yes, THAT Plato), The Emerald Tablets of Thoth, Sumerian and Egyptian mythology, The Doom of Undal tells the story of the Fall of Atlantis.
[Full disclosure: I requested and received a free ebook through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]
The Doom of Undal is the second book in a series but since it was not presented to me that way I decided to request it. I was a little mad when I learned that this was the second book but in the end it doesn’t really matter. The names are more confusing in the beginning than they would be if you read the first book but it’s nothing you can’t overcome.
For the first 60% or so, you may be a little confused by the blurb because The Doom of Undal does not start out with a mysterious death. No, it starts with the childhoods of our main characters and their introductions into the different temples. They all become acolytes of different gods and goddesses depending on their powers as well as their personalities. Hathor, for example, is a sort of whimsical child who learns the arts of the love goddess because it suits her talents as well as her whimsical nature. The boys go into more warlike temples. It’s all quite interesting in its own right but starting the book off that way really, really slows down the plot. The plot has to be slow at the beginning because of the sheer volume of names being introduced but that super slow plot also meant I had a really, really hard time getting through the first half of the book.
What I absolutely love about this book is how Katrina Sisowath blended together Sumerian and Egyptian mythology as well as a few other things in order to tell her story. Since I love Egypt, the Egyptian influences were quite obvious: the pyramids, the brother-sister marriages of the Dragon Court, some of the Egyptian deities like Hathor, etc. I’m less familiar with Sumerian mythology so I can’t really comment on that but I really did enjoy all of the thought Sisowath put into developing her world. It’s fantastic and her enthusiasm for this world really does show through in her writing. The world-building is probably the only reason I didn’t give up on the book completely while I struggled through to the more exciting half. Really, this is what fantasy should be like when you’re mixing magic, myth and history.
As I said before, the plot is slow for about half of the novel until we travel with Rhea to the court at Undal. While travelling there she reconnects with an old childhood friend named Cronous, who is the heir apparent for the hereditary rulers of Undal. However, she is supposed to marry his father while he is sent away to become even more bitter and perhaps bring out that underlying cruelty a bit more. While Rhea does her duty to her much older husband and even seems to enjoy some of being queen, when Cronous returns complications arise as she finds herself falling in love with him and not her husband. I don’t want to spoil too much but the lovers then embark on a path that, as the blurb said, is the greatest threat Tiamut has ever known. Both characters go through some pretty drastic changes as they embrace their darker sides a bit more but it’s the reactions of Rhea’s siblings that will probably seal the fate of Undal’s rebellion.
To sum up: I would strongly recommend reading the first book before reading The Doom of Undal. You don’t have to, but I think I would have received far more out of this book had I read Serpent Priestess of the Annunaki. If you read that, then I think the first part of the book will be a little more exciting than it was for me, since it basically closes the chapter on the older generation and introduces the newer one. Still, I think The Doom of Undal was a fairly good read and if the blurb has intrigued you, go check out the Dragon Court series.
I give this book 4/5 stars.