On the continent of Innisfail, Old Gods reign. Following 500 years of vicious conflict, the High King has negotiated an armistice between the immortal Sidhe in the North, and the human populations of the South: the Sons of Mil. In a land of treacherous magic and ageless blood feuds, peace is precarious at best.
–from the description of The Sons of Mil
An outcast with few loyalties, Ben Maeden has no interest in the political strife brewing in the South. Convinced a man without pride has nothing to lose, he’s content to fade into drunken obscurity, until a rare moment of conscience compels him to rescue a young noblewoman from a band of mercenaries. This encounter hurls him into the heart of a far-reaching conspiracy, for Una Moura is no ordinary girl: she harbors a secret that could spell disaster for everyone. Hunted by militant nobles, dark creatures, and ambitious zealots, Ben and Una find themselves in a desperate race to prevent a war. Though, not every enemy lurks in the shadows. Haunted by the ghosts of a former life, Ben may discover his greatest challenge lies within. Can he reconcile his past to safeguard Innisfail’s future, or is he doomed to repeat his mistakes… to the detriment of all?
Alright, I’m going to try and give a cohesive, professional-sounding review of this book. But I’ll be honest; that’s going to be hard. I just loved this book so much and I’m inclined to go on a rambling tangent about everything that made it amazing.
I’ve mentioned previously that I love Celtic and Irish mythology and folklore, so the premise of this book grabbed my attention. But I never expected that I’d love it as much I did!
The Sons of Mil opens strongly, introducing us to Ben Maedan and all the questions that surround him and his past. Honestly, that’s something I’d like to acknowledge right off the bat. Riviere is a veritable master when it comes to creating a sense of mysterious intrigue around her characters. It’s largely seen with Ben (and with Una and Aoife!), but all throughout the book, Riviere reveals just enough information to hook you without fully revealing the truth of things. And the reveals aren’t just cheap plot twists, they’re genuinely shocking and satisfying moments that I guarantee will leave you blown away.
As for the plot as a whole, Riviere masterfully wove together so many different threads! From political intrigue to exciting battle scenes to haunting pasts, there was quite a bit going on. Still, despite the complexities, everything remained clear and not confusing. I find that, sometimes, books that deal with a great deal of politics and plotting can get too wrapped up and become overcomplicated. That didn’t happen here, though; all the alliances and plans had a great deal of complexity, but, again, Riviere kept things from becoming muddled.
The characters played a large role in making the plot so amazing, of course. Riviere followed multiple characters, all of whom contributed to making things interesting. I enjoyed seeing the differing views characters had on the same people, places, and events. And I loved seeing the different relationships from both sides, too!
The last thing I want to say about this book is that the world is beautiful and skillfully developed. I mentioned politics before, but a large part of this story involved alliances and wars, rulers and coups. Riviere developed all that expertly; the same can be said for the physical and magical elements of this fictional world. Everything felt tangible and so, so real–and I absolutely loved it!
In short, I would recommend this book to everyone! The plot had me on the edge of my seat; the setting had me in awe over its detail; the characters made me feel so attached to them and their stories. I completely and irreversibly fell in love with everything about this book, and I encourage you to give it a chance so you can, too!
Get a copy here!