I've been meaning to check up The Gravedigger Chronicles ever since cover art of the first installment of it called Sea of Ghosts caught my eye. Synopsis sounded extremely interesting as well and PAN/Tor UK have an impressive record of publishing exciting titles. To be honest, I can't exactly remember what happened and why I haven't read it back then but I can only assume that life and a mountain of books got in the way. Luckily, Tor UK have just published second volume called Art of Hunting which provided a perfect opportunity for me to check out both. While this review will mainly revolve around Art of Hunting I hope to publish a review of Sea of Ghosts as well, albeit in the next couple of days.
The book opens up with an epic and powerful prologue where we are introduced to the world as it was in the centuries predating the current events. The Unmer and the Haurstaf battle same as ever and we are shown glimpses of conflicts that made the world as it is today. Art of Hunting goes on to continue with the events and the characters introduced in the Sea of Ghosts.
The Unmer have control of the palace at Awl while the Haurstaf are in tatters but despite their conflict, Ianthe is still completely smitten with her relationship to Unmer prince Prince Paulus Marquetta. On the other side of the world, Briana Marks is plotting to kill Ianthe with the help of exiled Unmer lord, Argusto Conquillas. Maskelyne, on the other hand, is slowly discovering the secrets of the strange crystal recovered from the wreckage of the Unmer chariot.
I must admit that I was extremely happy that I was reading both volumes subsequently. Being second book in a series, it is exactly what you would expect a middle of the series to be. It is without an apparent beginning or an end. Despite this, Art of Hunting serves as a nice testament to the power of Alan Campbell's writing powers. The world he created is unique and immersive in extreme and I would definitely recommend that you take a plunge - just revisit Sea of Ghosts before you do.