The Archive (Maer Cycle Book 2) by Dan Fitzgerald

In Hollow Road three companions discovered the monsters of legend were all too real…Rumors among the Maer tell of an underground library called the Archive, which houses a wealth of knowledge and terrible magics that could be used to start the biggest war seen since the Great Betrayal. A mixed group of humans and Maer set off on an historic quest to find the Archive and protect it from those who would use it to destroy everything they hold dear. As the cold of winter bears down upon them, they trek through forbidding mountains beset by dangers they could have never imagined. They follow a set of ancient clues deep into the Silver Hills, forging surprising alliances and making new enemies.The humans and Maer are linked by more than their quest to find the Archive and stop an insidious war. A mystical surrogacy may bridge the gap between two peoples, and many hearts entwine as their adventure hurtles toward its bloody conclusion. (taken from Amazon)

The Archive is a book like no other. Full of incredibly nuanced characters, it is both fascinating and thought provoking. After reading and loving Hollow Road (review here), I was excited to continue on in the Maer Cycle. The Archive takes the series to a whole new level, one that had me utterly engrossed.

After the events of Hollow Road, we find an uneasy peace between the Maer and the humans, uneasy being the operative word. Is either “side” completely trustworthy? Is this peace sincere, or just a ploy? Adding to this dynamic is a faction of the Maer that do not trust the humans as far as they can throw them, instead wanting to launch an attack. This situation adds to the tense atmosphere found throughout the story.

An odd team made of both humans and Maer go in search of the Archive, a “maybe it exists” trove that is rumored to contain something of great importance, although no one is certain of what that is. Whether it helps the Maer or leads to their destruction rests on the shoulders of whomever gets to it first. I love a good quest!

Hollow Road focused a lot on the character development of a few characters, both within themselves and with relation to others. That continues on here, with the characters becoming astonishingly well-developed. Seeing more of the world, and learning more about the customs of its inhabitants was truly fascinating. The characters did not exist in a small vacuum: rather, the reader got to see how they grew and evolved based on their experiences, personalities, backgrounds, and relationships.

What got me, though, was author Dan Fitzgerald’s ability to take a fantasy book and use it as a mirror to show truths about humanity as a whole. It was beautiful, sad, sometimes uncomfortable, and incredibly, incredibly well written. There were even a few parts that had me tearing up. It is rare for me to have such a visceral reaction to a fantasy book.

Hollow Road was a fantastic book. The Archive is incredible. I cannot recommend this series enough.

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