Book Review: A Ritual of Flesh by Lee C Conley

A Ritual of Flesh (The Dead Sagas Book 2) by [Lee C Conley]

With all that’s been going on in the last year plus, you would think that reading a book that involves a plague, and the walking dead and some other stuff wouldn’t be at the top of my list. Well, given how much I enjoyed Lee C Conley’s A Ritual of Bone, I figured it would turn out okay. And I was right! Well, it definitely did not turn out okay for the characters, but it was still an absolutely enjoyable read.

1. Thoughts on the plot

There is a lot going on in this book, not just a plague that is slightly more problematic than the current situation. The book follows several characters as they face the consequences of book one, as well as deal with the fact that everything is getting much, much worse. I can’t say a whole lot, because that would involve spoiling the first book, which I shall not do, but I can say that I really appreciated each complex thread that was left untethered at the end of book one. They were taken and woven expertly into the various scenarios for this book, and it really made things come together perfectly. The characters’ threads all seemed to collide, and the way that this was done involved a steady escalation of events. I have rarely seen things done so steadily and expertly when causing mayhem; definitely a good story, plot wise.

2. Thoughts on the characters

This book had all the familiar characters from the first book, which I liked. I enjoy seeing further developments of characters and situations. I think that Bjorn’s development and furthered situation was perhaps my favourite, but I also really enjoyed the whole…situation…with the apprentice.

Quick note on the apprentice: he has a name! I shan’t say what is is, again to avoid spoiling book one, but the way that this was revealed felt so…almost anticlimactic. It was just stated, and seemed almost to ruin the mystery of having the information withheld for so long. However! I think that the way it was done really emphasised the character and made for an excellent transition when things went a little wonky and started going pearshaped. Such insignificance in the mystery really hammered some of the later development home and it was perfect. 

Also, everyone else was just great.

3. Favourite part

The whole naming thing, as described above. It just made such a quiet point, and I liked it.

4. Critique

I think the only real issue I had with this book had very little to do with the book itself, and more to do with the world. It was a harder task than I anticipated to read a story about a plague that gets a whole lot worse during a pandemic. Things just struck a little close to home, and it took me longer than I would have liked to get through the books. Of course, once things got exponentially worse in this book, it was completely fine, because my brain is weird. So not really a critique about the book, just a statement about life, I suppose.

If you are interested in an expertly written story that weaves a stunning tapestry together, and also has the dead, a plague, people being potentially problematic, and all the elements of dark/grimdark fantasy, then this is definitely a worthwhile read. It follows on perfectly from book one, and now I really need all the answers for the next instalment. An excellent book!