Immortal Architects is the sequel to Paige Orwin’s The Interminables. And delightfully, it is just as weird, wonderful and beautiful a story as the first.
We pick up on the story a little ways on from the end of the first book. Both Istvan and Edmund haven’t really come to grips with what has happened. And this forms part of the core of what happens in the book – the series of events that escalate due to the two being able to come talk or deal with their problems.
What comes through again in this book is the absolutely wonderful characters that Orwin has created. I still absolutely adore Istvan and Edmund. Istvan also gets to get even more complicated (I mean, being the conceptual ghost of World War One was already complicated) as we get a taste of what he is like when around war. It’s not nice, basically. And this leads to some of the complications (hilarious and otherwise) that happen as a result of his actions.
However, it’s not just his actions. Edmund has his own issues to face up to (and sometimes fail at spectacularly) which drive the plot along – as well as the tension between our two main characters. It is hard to see them fight as you love them as characters so much. However, it would be hard to see how they would have got themselves into these situations without being idiots to each other.
But there is also Kyra – another Conduit (like Grace Wu) who appears inside a tornado. She is the key to the plot, claiming that the defeated Shokat Anoushak is still alive. Kyra is an interesting addition, as she is a conduit but also a shattered (basically her memories were not her own and she grew up in a delusion by another super powerful entity that was defeated at the end of the last book). So it’s hard to know what is true and what isn’t – up until the very end. This leads to exploration of another part of the wrecked world – the Great Lakes region around Toronto. There’s more exploration of some of the beings that were created by the ancient Wizard, now left to their own devices without a leader. I loved this bit. I loved the different ‘mockeries’ – people that were changed into other things, like a bat-like stealth bomber. They were just so well crafted and interesting.
It was a really good read. Stressful, emotional and wonderful. It is one of those books that even though the people involved are nearly invulnerable, it doesn’t feel that way. There’s more at stake – friendship, secrets and people’s own personal demons. The characters aren’t always the good guys – which was a really interesting streak in this book.
“Don’t you realise that if anyone gets hurt, it isn’t us? It’s never us?” as Istvan says to Edmund at one point. They don’t have to actively do bad to have their actions have bad consequences. We see both Istvan and Edmund at a very low points in this book and I will love it if there’s another to further explore how their characters continue to evolve. Basically, book three, please.
OMG ISTVAN. Why can’t Istvan be real and be my friend?