Rune Saint John, heir to the fallen Sun Court, finds clues to his Companion Brand’s past on a mission into the ruins of his family estate. But while he’s still agonizing over whether to tell Brand, a more pressing matter arises.
Rune’s ward, Max, is nearly kidnapped by the Hanged Man, who has asserted a marriage claim on the young man. Rune isn’t about to lose Max to the Hanged Man and his court, the Gallows, which is known to have unhealthy interests in necromancy and mutilation magics. Urgency will lead Rune and Brand to the family of an old servant, whose own son has fallen into the Hanged Man’s orbit. In going to her aid, Rune may find a way to free both young men, but only if he’s willing to gamble everything on a decision that will change his life forever.
In a rarity, I found the sequel The Hanged Man as good as the first book in the series, The Last Sun. It is not often that this happens. Typically the second book can drag in a series. But not with The Hanged Man. It starts with a punch and by the time the story ends, everything has changed yet again for the characters.
One of the elements I like the best is how well developed the world and the characters are. K.D. Edwards is masterful in how he does this, showing us the relationships surrounding Rune. I also love Rune’s found family, how he is beginning to surround himself with those he can trust and who care about him. It is wonderful to see how much this impacts Rune as a character and how much it allows the character to grow.
The story is quicker paced than the first but does not lack for development. Like the first novel, I do caution that it delves into trauma and rape in regards to Rune’s backstory so be prepared. The author is careful in how he presents the details and he is also skilled in how he allows those elements to impact the character. There is a sensitivity to what might trigger someone who has survived the events that Rune has experienced and I love how K.D. Edwards illustrates this throughout the novels. I also love how Rune changes throughout not just this novel but the story, the relationship with Addam developing into a romance but also how his friendship with Brand is fully demonstrated.
Again, the novel changes both the character and his circumstances, opening doors for more to happen within the world. I love that we get glimpses of the future but the novel still leaves things open for the next book. If you love LGBTQ characters and rich urban fantasy, I highly recommend this second book in The Tarot Sequence. You will love The Hanged Man. It is as good as the first book in the series.
Rating: 5 out of 5 boats.