The Licanius Trilogy
It’s hard to believe that The Licanius trilogy consists of James Islington’s first books. It was this fact, couple with reading Islington’s bio, that convinced me that I needed to write my own fantasy series.
Where do I even begin with Licanius? Maybe at the end. It was truly one of the most satisfying conclusions to any series that I’ve read. I get shivers thinking about The Light of All That Falls’s epilogue. I won’t say anything more, just that it was somehow wrapped up perfectly.
The first installment in the series, The Shadow of What Was Lost, is my least favourite. I re-read the book a little while ago and realized why. Some of the dialogue was a little stiff and unrealistic. There weren’t many action scenes, and the ones that were there were lackluster.
But I’m glad that I persisted. I can almost guarantee that if you continue the series after the first book, you’ll be glad that you did. The Light of All That Falls is a masterpiece.
The story revolves around four main characters: Davian, Asha, Wirr and Caeden. I have to say that Caeden is one of my favourite characters in fantasy fiction. His progression and character arc is incredibly satisfying. The other characters are also compelling. I really enjoyed Davian’s character arc, especially since I didn’t love his character at the beginning of the first book. If you don’t find yourself loving the characters at the onset, give it time. The final installment takes place two years after the start of the first book, and the characters develop significantly.
“Licanius” translates to “fate”, which is fitting considering it’s one of the series’s primary themes along with destiny and free will. The way Islington explores these concepts is captivating. He invites the reader to ask themselves questions about these themes. I particularly enjoyed the character discussions revolving around them.
I haven’t read allegedly complex series such as Malazan Book of the Fallen. But I understand that the Licanius trilogy is quite complex, especially given that it’s packed into only three books. It’s a wonder how Islington was able to wrap up the story so beautifully.
One last point that I will mention. Given the complexity, I would highly recommend reading the books in succession. There are lengthy summaries at the start of each book, but I don’t think that they are enough. Try to binge read them if possible and you’ll have greater context for fully appreciating the story as it was meant to be experienced.
All in all, I’m certain that Licanius will go down as one of my favourite fantasy series of all time. The fact that I re-read the first book only a year after completing the series is testament to that. I’m envious of those that get to experience Licanius for the first time.