Faded Embers by Anne Wheeler [Book Review]
A story of betrayal, conspiracy and redemption. Fourth in the Shadows of War series that started with Asrian Skies. While we still follow Avery, the real protagonist of this volume is Gareth Chase. The true horror at the heart of Haedara is brought to light in Faded Embers.
Faded Embers is set a short while after Shattered Honor, the third book in the Shadows of War series. There is an uneasy peace between the Haedarans and the Commonwealth. Asria is semi-independent, but with Haedaran troops still in orbit and on the planet. Avery is Queen, and her son is around three years old. As the story opens she prepares for her coronation. Tensions are high because of the continued occupation. When Chase re-appears he isn’t entirely welcome, despite haivng crucial information to prevent Avery’s assassination .
Avery reluctantly accepts Chase’s help, because she can see no other alternative. Avery is clearly uncomfortable around Chase. Especially when she ends up on Chase’s family estate.
Chase is the main character. The parts of Faded Embers inside his head are the most revealing. There’s an inner conflict within Chase. His loyalties conflict. We see his recognition of both the evils of Haedara, and of his own acts. He needs forgiveness from the people he feels that he has betrayed. This drive for absolution fuels Chase’s quest for redemption. It’s not a sudden volte face. We see an accumulation of disappointment. The successes he hoped for are ruined. The price his family has paid, which he blames himself for, wasn’t worth the outcomes.
What Chase does in seeking redemption is completely understandable, yet revealing of his inner character and the powers that buffet him. It also shows the inner workings of the Haedaran state and how, like all dictatorships, it is inherently dysfunctional.
If you’ve enjoyed the first three books in this series, and especially if you saw yourself as Team Chase, then you will be absolutely fascinated by Faded Embers.