cover image The Killing Light (The Sacred Throne #3)

The Killing Light (The Sacred Throne #3)

Myke Cole., $17.99 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-0-7653-9599-3

Cole concludes his Jeanne d’Arc–meets–Fullmetal Alchemist saga in signature pull-no-punches style, albeit with some emotional flattening. Humankind’s existential foes, the devils, have leaped through the world’s wizardry-torn Veil, and 16-year-old Heloise Factor is the only one with a hope of stopping them. As she collects followers ranging from ragged villagers to a professional foreign army, her efforts trigger factionalism, and the already high body count continues to rise. Heloise’s quixotic goal is to take the imperial capital, but what sacrifice will be required to keep her ragtag forces together? Cole occasionally allows himself to retroactively endow scenes from prior books with meaning that was not apparent at the time, such as Heloise’s immolation of the traitor Sigir. Presented as pure, vengeful satisfaction in the Queen of Crows (2018), it is recast here as having created an emotional “yawning gulf” in Heloise. These moments do not ring wholly true, but the rest of the story makes up for them. Cole has brought this trilogy home with hard insight, maintaining the high standard set from the start. (Oct.)