It's February 2019: What fantasy book are you reading?

Jakyro

Journeyed there and back again
#21
I haven’t been reading a lot lately. 2018 has been a dissappointing year for my reading; I struggled a lot to finish some series/books. I’m currently more focused on sports; I’ve been running a lot, about 40km each week so it takes a lot of time from my reading. Besides that I’m spending a lot of time with my son.

What also doesn’t help is that the current series I’m reading is’t totale my cup of tea (three body problem series from Cixin Liu). It’s sci-fi, not bad but it focuses too much on a realistic and scientific explanation on various subjects, too much hard sci-fi to my liking and it takes away from the story and the reading experience. I’m still intreagued how the final book will end and i’ll probably finish it but I doubt it will receive a top score
 

ExTended

Journeyed there and back again
#22
So... I've started with The Hod King( The Books of Babel 3) by Josiah Bancroft.. but guess what happened half hour into the book?

I've accidentally found out that Dark Forge is out( Masters and Mages 2, by Miles Cameron). I'm literally grinning like a fool right now, I'm so, so, so damn excited about this book.

And the cover is just marvelous:

 

Khartun

Journeyed there and back again
#23
I've finished with Deadhouse Gates i.e. Malazan 2.

Well then...

One of the few books that has truly managed to break my reader's heart through and through, twice. The Kalam and Fiddler chapters were quite good( the Ikarium part was one of those two truly sad parts, but the minor one) and those two and Mappo/Ikarium tend to be my favorites so far, the Felicin's chapters were the meh of mehs. But damn the other plot line... it's enough to make you question how is that we haven't irrevocably broken this world of ours already.

This was truly a superior book to its predecessor, a worthy sequence if there ever has been one.

My only real gripes are that 1. that I'm still unsure what's happening. Granted, I have a few guesses, but it still doesn't make all that much sense, considering how change-able the characters' goals seems to be from time to time. Quite often, actually. And 2. the magic system is so baffling in its lack of boundaries and veerings from place to place, I could never predict anything with any kind of certainty, and even when I do, it's still so an uneducated guess it's not even funny

But for all that - I feel challenged by the scope and intricacy of this series and I'm glad for it to be so. And that's probably the best way I could've put my general opinion about the series. Satisfyingly challenging mix of unexpected and undesired events, sprinkled with just the right dose of familiarity.

I'm not sure if I'd continue straight forward with the series though. I'm behind on a few other series ( The Books of Babel 3 and Blackwing 2 to be more precise) and I might tackle one of those before Malazan 3, to give my brain a chance to recuperate. Not that the two non-Malazan books mentioned would lack perils... so yeah. :)
The Chain of Dogs is a great arc. One of my favorite Malazan quotes is from this one:

“Children are dying."
Lull nodded. "That's a succinct summary of humankind, I'd say. Who needs tomes and volumes of history? Children are dying. The injustices of the world hide in those three words.”


Just FYI, the next book, Memories of Ice, is one of the best in the series IMO.
 

Khartun

Journeyed there and back again
#24
So... I've started with The Hod King( The Books of Babel 3) by Josiah Bancroft.. but guess what happened half hour into the book?

I've accidentally found out that Dark Forge is out( Masters and Mages 2, by Miles Cameron). I'm literally grinning like a fool right now, I'm so, so, so damn excited about this book.

And the cover is just marvelous:

Is this series YA?
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#25

ExTended

Journeyed there and back again
#26
Is this series YA?
YA - nope. Coming-of-age... yeah, kind of. But it's a very mature coming of age story, more like coming into manhood/finding out where you'd like your place to be in the vast world kind of tone. As @kenubrion said, if you've liked Red Knight, you'd like this one as well. Similar attention to details about the medieval life and existence, with some magic to sweeten up the deal.

Not for us, it's Sept 17 in the US.
Yup, I've cheated a bit here. But to be honest, it's available in Audible and Amazon.com, so it's ready able for anyone who wouldn't like to wait for the US version. Since I'm going the audiobook path anyway, favourite vs favorite is not concern of mine. :p

Puissant is spelled the same in both after all! :D Damn, but I love that word. Classic Miles Cameron. The first time he used it in Cold Iron made me smirk, granted it was probably creepy, since I was alone in the room at that moment.

Small EDIT: I've also finished A Natural History of Dragons #2. It was good, but not great. I positively hate swamp settings, I can admit that to myself now. The whole premise of the 2nd book was kind of weak, the execution was okay, but it was for the most part an inconsequential book recycling the good parts of the 1st book in a very boring way. I'm not unhappy for having read it, but the main character presented a few very unsympathetic traits and Mary Sue moments and my willingness to carry along with her antics isn't what it once was. The main protagonist went from adventurous to very selfish and irresponsible in like a book time... so there's that. 5.5/10
 
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ExTended

Journeyed there and back again
#27
I've stumbled upon a surreal moment while reading Dark Forge where Miles Cameron has clearly drawn inspiration about his yeniceri( janissaries) from the real world Ottoman Empire and its force with the same name. Before we went to war with them and won our independence once more( after many failed tries), quite older kingdom was conquered and ruled by their empire for near to 5 centuries and the yeniceri corp was and still is hands down the most hated part of said slavery/occupation.

They would periodically go around the villages and enlist young boys into that military organization and bring them south to the Ottoman empire and indoctrinate them in their own religion, Islam, teach them to hate Christianity and their ancestors and then unleash them back on our people to kidnap more young boys and do all kind of war atrocities you could think of, including sending the boys to their own villages to prove their new loyalties by doing unspeakable things against their own. I cannot think of a more spiteful or insulting thing you could call someone from around these parts, it's literally a stronger world for traitor or a person with a total lack of morality.

But in this book, so far at least, they seem to be on the side of the good( well, I guess they were on the side of good from an Ottoman's POV even back then), so it's interesting for me to be in that position, and a little strange. Considering how ignored our history usually is in the grand scheme of things world-wide, not unwarranted, it's a new experience for me to be able to connect fantasy inspirations to my own culture or that of some of our bitter enemies.

But yeah, it's a new experience for me to find a fantasy reference to a word that I'd usually use to literally burn all bridges with a fellow Balkanian person, especially a country-mate. There were many historical instances of mothers killing themselves and their children in order to keep them away from the yeniceri corp. They were probably the strongest reason why our people kept fighting for freedom after 5 centuries of failed rebellions, the rest of the occupation disadvantages weren't all that extreme and probably ignore-able in the long term, but the yeniceri is probably the main reason for our nation to stay united in its desire to keep its culture and national identity despite our troubles in mounting a successful resistance for quite some time.

Sorry for the off-topic, but it's rare that I get a chance to connect my hobby with our history. :)
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#28
@ExTended
I feel like Ottoman empire and the history of Balkans is pretty much an unknown in modern western world for most creative types. I mean it just isn't a common inspiration for American and UK authors. So that's surprising.

They would periodically go around the villages and enlist young boys into that military organization and bring them south to the Ottoman empire and indoctrinate them in their own religion, Islam, teach them to hate Christianity and their ancestors
That was called devshirme, litteraly means collecting. Another word for it is blood tax.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devshirme

Most famous one from Bosnia was Mehmed-paša Sokolović, who rose to the ranks of grand vizir and served under three sultans.
 

ExTended

Journeyed there and back again
#29
@ExTended
I feel like Ottoman empire and the history of Balkans is pretty much an unknown in modern western world for most creative types. I mean it just isn't a common inspiration for American and UK authors. So that's surprising.


That was called devshirme, litteraly means collecting. Another word for it is blood tax.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devshirme

Most famous one from Bosnia was Mehmed-paša Sokolović, who rose to the ranks of grand vizir and served under three sultans.
Yeah, totally.

Our history is full of epic moments that just beg to be put in a book or three, and probably every Balkan country has those, since we've all been around for a long time.

I few that come from the top of my mind:

1. Battle of Kleidion
Part of the Byzantine-Bulgarian Wars.

The Battle of Kleidion (or Clidium, after the medieval name of the village of Klyuch, "(the) key"; also known as the Battle of Belasitsa) took place on July 29, 1014 between the Byzantine Empire and the Bulgarian Empire. It was the culmination of the nearly half-century struggle between the Byzantine Emperor Basil II and the Bulgarian Emperor Samuil in the late 10th and early 11th centuries. The result was a decisive Byzantine victory.

After this battle the Byzantines captured 10 000 Bulgarian soldiers and blinded them, leaving one one-eyed man for every 100 blinded man so that the one-eyed men could guide their blinded fellows back home. Samuil, our tzar, died two months after the battle from heart attack, after witnessing the state of those soldiers.

2. After one of our victories over the Byzantines our tzar captured their emperor and chopped his head off, gilding his skull with gold and drinking his wine from it afterwards.

3. During the Balkan wars if I remember correctly a Turkish or a Serbian army tried to capture one particular fortress towards the end of the war, a day before its end, and a single Bulgarian officer using the help of two sheepherders has managed to keep 10 000 soldiers from taking the fortress using 4 cannons and that how we've kept some of our land from being taken at the eve of the war.

4. To be honest my favorite fact - an ex-monk, Vasil Levski, probably are most notable national hero, was touring the country for three years on foot in the 18th century, managing to go through it a few times and creating a complex network of rebellion centers before his death after a betrayal, but the most notable part for me is how he was gathering money for rifles and resistance and would only eat a piece of bread and 2 olives each meal, so that he won't be spending more of those money that he possibly could. It's a small sacrifice considering all else he've managed to do with his life, but that's a true example of utter dedication to me. One of our other national heroes/generals from this war, who organized Bulgarians abroad, was also a great, great poet and his works are heart-breaking in hindsight, especially the poems he writes for his mother and loved one before making his march towards his home country, where he dies on a lonely peak with his men, due to poor coordination with the rest of the rebellion efforts. Our mentality at this time was - if we die loudly enough, someone would notice how badly we want to be free, and that was happening about 50 - 100 years, escalating very rapidly in the last few of them.

5. A mountain side called Shipka, where in the Bulgarian-Turkish was it was so vital that we don't lose the pass to them, that our soldiers started throwing rocks, branches and everything on hand on the Turkish forces after the ammonitions ran out, and then when they found themselves out of rocks and branches, someone shouted that they need to flung their dead comrades now and they did just that. This has inspired one of my favorite local poems:

No weapons are left! What remains is the slaughter!
Each stone is a bomb and each tree-trunk a sword is.
Each object – a blow, and each soul – flame that sears.
From the peak every tree, every stone disappears.
"Grab hold of the bodies!" they hear a voice crying,
At once through the air lifeless corpses are flying,
And over the hordes like black devils they dive
And tumble and roll as if they were alive!
The Turks quake and tremble, not having seen ever
The living and death fight a battle together,

And of course that's sugarcoating a very desperate situation, the most ugly and beautiful in mankind, their will to fight till the very end, with everything on their disposal, even doing something distasteful as that. But the truth is that this moment has probably won us the war, or at least - we didn't end up extending it more than necessary, so there's something positive in the grim reality of war too.

6. And the main reason our country is free is that our last rebellion angered the Turkish empire so much, that they burned down whole areas of the country and a British journalist has managed to report the atrocities and that unlocked the door for a slavic war coalition against the Turkish empire, which was opposed before that be the great of the day. But the massacres would so brutal and thorough, the European society demanded their governments to do something about it, and they basically permitted the East to rise and fight for its freedom.

I am plotting a gun-powder fantasy series that's loosely inspired by those and other similar events. I should probably research more of the Greek/Serbian history and go for a Game of Thrones no one is good type of vibe when it comes to putting pen on paper. But I'm still working on the magic system, plot comes after. :) My saving grace is that I've created my gun powder magic system without reading anything from the sub-genre before-hand, so I've avoided the misfortune of being unconsciously inspired by any of the more prominent works in it( I've actually read Mistborn era 2, but I'm not sure how much it counts). I've read Brian MacClellan's stuff afterwards and so far my magic system is unique in relation to his, but I'll need to go through the other big names in the sub-genre before making that claim with bold letter, so wish me luck! I hope that I'm not lasting my time developing the world only to find that someone has had a similar idea. :)
 
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Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
#30
Yeah Ottoman Empire presence on Balkan during those 400 years brought a lot of atrocities, that the rest of the Europe was thankfully spared from.
You have some interesting nuggets of history there, that could be used as a powerful inspiration for fantasy books, and seeing that you want to write I wish you all the luck!
If I had any writing aspiration I would try and tell the story of last queen of Bosnia, Katarina Kosača (Catherine of Bosnia) and the fall of House Kotromanic, the death of her husband, Bosnian Church and the ultimate end of Bosnian Kingdom in 1461 caused by Ottoman Empire invasion.
I always found her an incredibly inspirational character. She, Ban Kulin from 12th century Bosnia, and King Tvrtko I of Bosnia from 14th century, are probably the most symbolic historical figures for all Bosnians. Holy trinity if you like :)
 

rudyjuly2

Journeyed there and back again
#31
I took a break from fantasy to read an average basketball book called "Can I have me Jersey" by Paul Shirley. Not enough hidden gems of NBA life and more of a cynical diary that gets too jaded at times by the end.

Started reading Skyward by Brandon Sanderson based on the numerous recommendations here. Have to admit, if it wasn't for all the praise you guys have given I would have given up in the first 2-3 pages. It's very YA. They style of writing is very simple. But I do like the story and main character and am interested in finding more about the mysterious world they live in. I just hope the answers I find aren't too simple. It's a quick read as I'm already at page 140 after starting yesterday. Had a power outage so reading was easy lol.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#32
Yeah, totally.

Our history is full of epic moments that just beg to be put in a book or three, and probably every Balkan country has those, since we've all been around for a long time.

I few that come from the top of my mind:

1. Battle of Kleidion
Part of the Byzantine-Bulgarian Wars.

The Battle of Kleidion (or Clidium, after the medieval name of the village of Klyuch, "(the) key"; also known as the Battle of Belasitsa) took place on July 29, 1014 between the Byzantine Empire and the Bulgarian Empire. It was the culmination of the nearly half-century struggle between the Byzantine Emperor Basil II and the Bulgarian Emperor Samuil in the late 10th and early 11th centuries. The result was a decisive Byzantine victory.

After this battle the Byzantines captured 10 000 Bulgarian soldiers and blinded them, leaving one one-eyed man for every 100 blinded man so that the one-eyed men could guide their blinded fellows back home. Samuil, our tzar, died two months after the battle from heart attack, after witnessing the state of those soldiers.

2. After one of our victories over the Byzantines our tzar captured their emperor and chopped his head off, gilding his skull with gold and drinking his wine from it afterwards.

3. During the Balkan wars if I remember correctly a Turkish or a Serbian army tried to capture one particular fortress towards the end of the war, a day before its end, and a single Bulgarian officer using the help of two sheepherders has managed to keep 10 000 soldiers from taking the fortress using 4 cannons and that how we've kept some of our land from being taken at the eve of the war.

4. To be honest my favorite fact - an ex-monk, Vasil Levski, probably are most notable national hero, was touring the country for three years on foot in the 18th century, managing to go through it a few times and creating a complex network of rebellion centers before his death after a betrayal, but the most notable part for me is how he was gathering money for rifles and resistance and would only eat a piece of bread and 2 olives each meal, so that he won't be spending more of those money that he possibly could. It's a small sacrifice considering all else he've managed to do with his life, but that's a true example of utter dedication to me. One of our other national heroes/generals from this war, who organized Bulgarians abroad, was also a great, great poet and his works are heart-breaking in hindsight, especially the poems he writes for his mother and loved one before making his march towards his home country, where he dies on a lonely peak with his men, due to poor coordination with the rest of the rebellion efforts. Our mentality at this time was - if we die loudly enough, someone would notice how badly we want to be free, and that was happening about 50 - 100 years, escalating very rapidly in the last few of them.

5. A mountain side called Shipka, where in the Bulgarian-Turkish was it was so vital that we don't lose the pass to them, that our soldiers started throwing rocks, branches and everything on hand on the Turkish forces after the ammonitions ran out, and then when they found themselves out of rocks and branches, someone shouted that they need to flung their dead comrades now and they did just that. This has inspired one of my favorite local poems:

No weapons are left! What remains is the slaughter!
Each stone is a bomb and each tree-trunk a sword is.
Each object – a blow, and each soul – flame that sears.
From the peak every tree, every stone disappears.
"Grab hold of the bodies!" they hear a voice crying,
At once through the air lifeless corpses are flying,
And over the hordes like black devils they dive
And tumble and roll as if they were alive!
The Turks quake and tremble, not having seen ever
The living and death fight a battle together,

And of course that's sugarcoating a very desperate situation, the most ugly and beautiful in mankind, their will to fight till the very end, with everything on their disposal, even doing something distasteful as that. But the truth is that this moment has probably won us the war, or at least - we didn't end up extending it more than necessary, so there's something positive in the grim reality of war too.

6. And the main reason our country is free is that our last rebellion angered the Turkish empire so much, that they burned down whole areas of the country and a British journalist has managed to report the atrocities and that unlocked the door for a slavic war coalition against the Turkish empire, which was opposed before that be the great of the day. But the massacres would so brutal and thorough, the European society demanded their governments to do something about it, and they basically permitted the East to rise and fight for its freedom.

I am plotting a gun-powder fantasy series that's loosely inspired by those and other similar events. I should probably research more of the Greek/Serbian history and go for a Game of Thrones no one is good type of vibe when it comes to putting pen on paper. But I'm still working on the magic system, plot comes after. :) My saving grace is that I've created my gun powder magic system without reading anything from the sub-genre before-hand, so I've avoided the misfortune of being unconsciously inspired by any of the more prominent works in it( I've actually read Mistborn era 2, but I'm not sure how much it counts). I've read Brian MacClellan's stuff afterwards and so far my magic system is unique in relation to his, but I'll need to go through the other big names in the sub-genre before making that claim with bold letter, so wish me luck! I hope that I'm not lasting my time developing the world only to find that someone has had a similar idea. :)
Thanks for the nice read (and you too @Alucard).

I think the reason for fantasy authors ignoring Eastern European and Balkan history is that fantasy is Anglo-Saxon focused by default. A lot of writers are from the Anglo-Saxon world and a big part of the readers are from Anglo-Saxon countries too. There's a post about this somewhere on the forum, if anyone cares to reinvigorate that discussion.

In any case, for a lot of history buffs in the my country (the Netherlands) and also devout Christians, Balkan history is actually very well known. Whenever I take any civil liberties we have here in the West for granted, I always think back on the situation in the Balkans, where off and on people have been fighting for their liberty throughout the last millennia.

And agreed: there are some great stories there. Just like GRRM was inspired mostly by Anglo-Scottish history, so can a Croat/Bulgarian/Bosnian etc writer be inspired by rich local stories. I for one would be very enthusiastic if there ever would be a Balkan equivalent of GRRM, writing his/her stories.
 

Peat

Journeyed there and back again
#33
Just finished De Bodard's House of Shattered Wings. I love her writing style and ideas, but her storytelling just doesn't jive right for me; I thought this book opened slow and ended quick. Bit in the middle was magnificent though.


Re Recent Conversation - Silvion is mostly right to point at the obvious case for the Anglosphere being mainly fixated on the doings of the Anglosphere, but there are areas outside of that which get attention and there are areas that don't. Medieval France and Renaissance Italy will never run short of attention; Russia gets more than the rest of the Slavic world put together; China and Japan more than the rest of Asia put together; but Asia in general got more attention than Africa until very recently.

The Balkans are very much a poor man in this and so too is their history. It might be well known in the Netherlands, but not in the UK. Even in modern times, when we talk about the Cold War and the struggle against Communism, we talk Poland, Czechslovakia, Hungary; not further south.

Its a huge shame because it is an eventful and incredible history. But for some reason, far from the British mind.
 

ExTended

Journeyed there and back again
#34
It probably has something to do with culture and historical significance too.

As in - when it comes to it the Roman Empire was a very big thing in its time and its legacy. Eventually it ended up splitting in two - the Vatican and the Byzantine Empire. Vatican had the West to pit against each other and to lord over, the Byzantine branch of the church fought against the Vatican for control, but it has concentrated on our end of things, the Balkans, to a more limited extent Central Europe. So we were for a very, very long time, pitted against totally different enemies and being engaged into two totally different cultural/religious wars. It's only fair that people would mostly study the cultural/advancement war that they've been engaged with and somewhat ignore the other one, due to it being less relevant to their ancestors' day to day struggles.

Like the only two instances where Bulgaria has to really deal with Western powers pre-19th century were the First/Second Crusades, and before that the pressures exerted by the Vatican and Byzantine's church as to which one would we choose to follow long-term, so Roman Empire influencing our past once more.

We were an empire at some point, but no one really cared, because we were never a big treat to the West, with the Byzantine Empire to check us if we expanded too much and lose our ability to deal with them. The battle where they've blinded our soldiers( they were actually 15 000, not 10 000, I've got the number wrong) was the beginning of the end for our Empire aspirations and we've only managed to become an empire once more, briefly in 13th century. Everything else is pretty much us, the Greeks and the Byzantines/Ottomans choking each-other for local dominance, pretty similar to the way the British, the French, the Austrians and the Italians were pitted against other at your end.

We're learning lots of foreign history in our classes, but the bulk is concentrated on our history, Balkan history, ancient history, the Napoleonic war and the Wolrd Wars history. We go in depth about Western Europe politics too, but somehow the focus there is more academic than personal. As in - we are expected to know key events there, but if you ask me about the dozens of British houses I'd probably go blank on your, except the War of the Roses, the Tudors, etc. :)
 

rudyjuly2

Journeyed there and back again
#35
Finished Skyward in a very short time. After my initial concerns over it being very YA I was very happy with the book. So I thank you guys for recommending it and you kept me from quitting at the start.

The story is really good, you fall for the main character and the supporting cast and the mystery of what really goes on hooks you in. I read this book in under a week and the speed at which I read dictates how much I enjoyed it. The actual book is part Ender’s game, part Top Gun and part How to Train Your Dragon - just like Sanderson described in his initial blog on the book. The great part about this book is that questions are answered and there is a solid conclusion to the book despite the fact this a 4 book series. Highly recommended for a quick, easy and fun read.

4.5/5
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#36
Finished Dancer's Lament and restarted Ravencry at 12%. Dancer's sure felt like a different Esselmont from Night of Knives and Crimson Guard, but it's been years since those. I have Stonewielder and may start it soon. But Lament was sort of YA to me and I didn't care about anyone, even Wu and Dorion. Some nice pyrotechnics though. The first try at Ravencry also seemed different from Blackwing. Must be me. Actually I have the flu pretty bad even though I had the shot, so my perception is probably off.

Deadhouse Gates will be next if Ravencry and Never Die don't grab me. I'm surprised that no one else has mentioned Ravencry. I liked Blackwing and had high hopes for this one.
 

Cyphon

Journeyed there and back again
#38
Finished Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames

Definitely does not live up to the first book but I am pretty sure King of the Wyld is one of the only books I have ever given a perfect score to (I have a bad memory), so I don't necessarily mean this as a bad thing. To be brief it is very similar in all ways to the first book with the main and most important difference being the band the book focuses on. We went from Saga to Fable and for me, that is what set this book back from the first. I LOOOOOOVED following Saga in that first book and it is one of the few books that actually made me laugh. I can't say enough good things about how fun it was reading the jouney of Saga. Fable just lacked the star power for me and I couldn't ever connect to any of the characters like I did in the first. That being said, it was still a solid read finished by a strong ending. Odd though that a good book could still feel somewhat disappointing. Will still be looking forward to the third book.

8/10
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#39
Dropped Ravencry and picked up Redemption's Blade and read 37% yesterday, can't put it down. It's funny in the Kings of the Wyld way, written by Adrian Tchaikovsky, and it's about the aftermath of a world-wide war against a Sauron-like bad guy and his monstrous minions, some of whom become the good guys along with the young woman who wields the sword that brought him down. Once again Tchaikovsky has written a great book, first in a new series.
 

rudyjuly2

Journeyed there and back again
#40
I loved Vicious. Now I'm reading Vengeful which is the sequel. After 80 pages I'm wondering why there is a sequel other than to make money lol. The beginning shows a new character and it's interesting. After that it's back to the old cast with plenty of flashbacks and it lacks a clear point or plot focus moving forward. Just a bit indifferent so far since nothing really important has happened but will keep going. (There is a focal point revolving around Victor early on, it's just not that sexy - see very early spoiler).
Seems the entire focus so far is that Victor has been brought back to life flawed and they need to figure out if they can fix that flaw before it kills him. But that's not really a great plot point imo.

I did have to read a recap of Vicious to remember what the heck happened. Great recap here: https://www.bookseriesrecaps.com/what-happened-in-vicious/ . It's a smaller site and not a lot of recaps but this is good.