Review: The Last Sun (The Tarot Sequence #1)

[rape tw]

Never trust Goodreads reviewers. I mean, Goodreads is like Wikipedia: decent for quick and dirty summaries, but you don’t want to depend on it. You see, if I had heeded the reviews on Goodreads, I would never have read this book.

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Rune Saint John is the last scion of the fallen Sun Court of New Atlantis, along with his Companion, Brand, Rune is hired to search for Lady Justice’s missing son, Addam. Their search will take them from the upper echelons of Atlantean society to one of the lowest points in Rune’s past. Now it’s just a matter of finding Addam and the forces behind the abduction before time runs out, but in the process he may find there’s more going on than meets the eye, a truth about the raid on Sun Court that he might not be ready to face.

Gods, I love these assholes. I love the banter between Rune and Brand, I love Matthias and the way he throws a wrench in their dynamic in a “how do I take care of this kid?” way. I love how his employer, Lord Tower, is definitely two steps ahead of everyone else and also a bit shady. There’s a “realness” to the dialogue that I liked, particularly in the banter between Rune and Brand, like when Brand interrupts a thought to comment on someone’s butt (it makes sense in context).

I also found the world interesting despite being another “fantasy kitchen sink”. There are passing mentions of were-creatures, for instance. Magic is cast through spells stored in specially made objects called sigils. Antlanteans also have “aspects” a “gloves come off” form that is unique to each person.

I think the highest praise I can give this novel is that I couldn’t stop reading it and immediately bought the sequel when I finished it. I was so invested in the world and the characters (who deserve good things). Even as I write this I really want to get back to the sequel.

The reason I almost didn’t pick up this book was because a few reviewers referred to the main relationship as “rapey”. I didn’t find that to be the case at all. The only sexual activity depicted between the two is clearly with Rune’s consent. That said, Rune is a rape survivor and some may find the love interest flirting with him when he’s clearly uncomfortable rubs them the wrong way. I will say that when he is finally clued in, he apologizes and is much more careful with his words and actions. The assault itself is vaguely alluded to apart from a couple scenes near the middle and end of the book that are more specific. It’s clearly fucked him up (and Brand as well) and not something that can be “fixed” by a relationship (which, as you probably know, is a tired, gross trope). Another thing that may cause discomfort is the way Matthias (who is 17) acts jealous and possessive of Rune, but this is very firmly rebuffed by the latter (who points out that Matthias is 17 and he, Rune, is a grown man).

If I had one criticism, I felt like the portrayal of one character with an eating disorder came across as “this character is unhealthy–and that makes her suspicious” and actually, there weren’t many prominent female characters at all. There are several women Arcana, but only a couple of them are relevant to the plot, and the only woman in Rune’s household is Queenie, basically his servant.

Obviously, I wouldn’t recommend The Last Sun to everyone, but I did find it to be a compelling read with a sweet romantic subplot (or at least the beginnings of a relationship, maybe). I couldn’t stop reading it and I can’t wait to get back to the sequel.

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