- The Fifth Ward: Friendly Fire.
- Dale Lucas.
- 480 pages.
- Fantasy / Fiction.
- My Rating: Hell Yeah Book Review.
Humans, orcs, mages, elves and dwarves all jostle for success and survival in the cramped quarters of the city of Yenara, while understaffed Watch Wardens struggle to keep its citizens in line.
In the most dangerous district in the city, Rem and Torval have been perfecting their good cop, bad cop routine. But when a perplexing case of arson leads to a series of gruesome murders, the two partners must challenge their own assumptions and loyalties if they are to wrest justice from the chaos and keep their ward from tearing itself apart.
I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I was a big fan of Lucas’s previous The Fifth Ward book, First Watch with its Riggs and Murtaghesque buddy cop duo of watch wardens, the pairing of the young and inexperienced Rem/Remeck (Bonny Prince) and the gruff and stout veteran Torval (Old Stump) and, so when a surprise copy of Friendly Fire, the sequel came through my door I was greatly appreciative of its arrival.👍📚
In Friendly Fire we are welcomed back to the city of Yenara and reintroduced to the duo of Rem and Torval thanks to a theft and then a high speed chase through the streets of Yenara, on foot, on horse and even on top of an out of control wagon as the duo attempt to apprehend the thief which makes for a blistering and exciting start by Lucas.
Angry protests lead to a case of arson that then leads to something much deeper and darker going on in Yenara, a series of murders. Humans and dwarves are both involved in the conflict and as it builds a cauldron of simmering tension forms on the streets of Yenara threatening to spill over. As things get worse, the human citizens gradually turn against the dwarven citizens and what started as a small-scale dispute and schism inevitably boils over to an all-out hatred that threatens to tear the city apart. It’s up to Torval, Rem and their fellow watch wardens to try and find a resolution to the feud before it becomes irreparable and damages Yenara forever.
It’s a dark and deep story told in Friendly Fire that looks into discrimination, prejudice, racism, resentment, being a minority, friendship, family (even when you aren’t blood) and being an outsider in a place that isn’t your home. Lucas writes the story in a way that makes you able to understand both sides of the conflict but also lays blame on both sides too with neither the humans or the dwarves being wholly good, bad, right or wrong. All involved contribute to and escalate the conflict with the payback mentality of ‘an eye for an eye‘ on full display as violence begets more violence between the races. You won’t agree with the actions taken or many of the attitudes that are shown by both the humans and the dwarves but you will (on occasion) feel sympathy for them as there have been innocent victims, injustice and wrongs done to both sides and all involved have made errors and mistakes.
Torval’s dwarven family, Rem’s love interest Indilen and the watch warden Prefect Ondego are all great characters in Friendly Fire but the stars of the book are definitely Rem and Torval. This time around the pair know each other and we aren’t seeing them try to form a bond and find common ground after being thrown together. They have already formed their bond, built their partnership and we get to see the continuation of that partnership, the bromance, the friendship, the ribbing and the trust in each other that they have already established, they are more than friends, they are brothers and they are family. As characters I love both Rem and Torval, they are an absolutely fantastic duo and I could read about them, their partnership, their banter, their antics and their entertaining adventures for many books to come.
Like its predecessor First Watch, Friendly Fire once again takes place solely within the confines of Yenara. Those hoping that the scope of the world would have been expanded by Lucas might be disappointed, I wasn’t. I admit that it would be great to venture forth and see more of the wider world and Yenara itself but the story Lucas tells never feels claustrophobic. What we do see is so well realised, populated by a myriad assortment of eclectic characters and full of history that, quite honestly, it was a pleasure to once again police the streets of the fifth ward of Yenara along with Rem and Torval.
The Fifth Ward deserves your attention and if you are yet to read either of the two released books then you need to check them out!
Friendly Fire is a fantastic bromantic fantasy that gives the reader an enjoyable and exciting fantasy fix that is full of heart.
Purchase The Fifth Ward: Friendly Fire.
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