Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Mother of All by Jenna Glass
Narrator: Robin Miles
Series: Women's War #3
Published by Del Rey Books on July 20, 2021
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes
In the once male-dominated world of Seven Wells, women now control their own reproduction, but the battle for equality is far from over. Even with two thrones held by women, there are still those who cling to the old ways and are determined to return the world to the way it was.
Now into this struggle comes a darker power. Delnamal, the former King of Aalwell, may have lost his battle to undo the spell that gave women reproductive control, but he has gained a terrible and deadly magic, and he uses these new abilities to raise an army the likes of which the world has never seen. Delnamal and his allies seem like an unstoppable force, destined to crush the fragile new balance between men and women.
Yet sometimes it is possible for determined individuals to stem the tide, and it comes down to a unique triad of women--maiden, mother, and crone--to risk everything...not only to preserve the advances they have won but to change the world one final time.
The Women’s War series has the usual historical fantasy world where women have almost no choices. Their primary worth is to bear an heir for men in the patriarchal society. Men control the magic. Men can also choose to send women to a whorehouse for the “unwanted.” This includes wives who can’t have children, or if the man wants someone else, or even daughters. There, the unwanted are bought for sex or toil in creating spells, where the earnings go to the kingdom. (So women can do magic if it is as a slave in production mode)
In the first book, Women’s War, there were considerable battles and the primary characters were women. They were women of royal families. Their magic bloodlines were powerful and one created a spell to give women power over their own fertility. Men were not happy. One women leaves her kingdom and finds a new magic well and forms a new kingdom. Another woman becomes queen when her grandfather and parents are both dead. So now two kingdoms are ruled by women.
Queen of the Unwanted is more of a character study with much less action and battle. I kept expecting a big fight. Men were not happy and kept trying to undermine the women. Unfortunately for them, the woman were fairly successful in their politics and magic.
In the final book in the trilogy, Mother of All , we find out what happened after the stunning events at the end of the last book. I worried all year about Delnamel being out on the loose. Of course, he couldn’t die. He had to gain new powers which are very hard to counteract. Because his mother is from Khalpar , he is sheltered by her in this holy patriarchy kingdom. They are the only support he has to get out and regain his kingdom and get vengeance.
Tynthanal is in a tough situation in Aaltah. Most people aren’t happy with him as ruler, but think he might have a better chance of fixing their well because of his connection with magic. He also is adjusting to his new marriage to Kailee, while his love Chanlix is still in Women’s Well. He is working with seers to try to figure out what happened to the well to fix it, as well as reading what they have of Mairahsol’s notes. ” Mother of All” is a religious term women use for the original deity, mother of the Creator, particularly seers.
Ellin in Rhozinolm is working hard to handle her kingdom. She needs to take a husband to solidify trade agreements, and stop the efforts to marry her off for various political advantages. The negotiations were rough, but she is able to choose her husband. He will be a prince consort and not take over rule. She is happy with her new husband, but the deal meant his old Prince, Waldmir got to take all his holdings there. He is worried, with good reasons, about the servants and people he left there.
Waldmir has his own problem with only having daughters and no sons in a country where only men rule and women are seen as property. He keeps killing off wives to take new ones to try for a son. He is ambivalent about his youngest daughter because her mother escaped. So he sends the 5 year old Elwynne to the Abbey. The Abbey is run by his original wife, Leethan, who is a seer, and tells him she has now seen he will not ever have a son. Leithan sets on a path to try to save Elwynne.
Alys is still in mourning for her daughter, and continues ruling Women’s Well. Her son, Corlin, who has had severe temper outbreaks, is in the citadel to train for war. Alys is getting marriage proposals but does not feel ready to stop mourning or to deal with a new husband. With the war beginning in Aalwell, and her son in the fighting force, she feels she needs to be there, at the well, to reduce any damage Delnamel might try to cause.
Such is the world, where Delnamel sets out to get his revenge. All these storylines keep things fascinating, as things build to Delnamel going back to Aaltah to fix the well and enact revenge. But Delnamel has a different plan than his Khalpar army which just wants to shove women back into their place and reverse the initial spell which gave women the right to choose whether they would have children or not.
I fretted terribly about all the strong women and their fates. They worked so hard to get just a little freedom and safety. Delnamel’s power seemed nearly unstoppable but the women figured out options to save the well and Aaltah. I was satisfied with the exciting battle to conclude this trilogy.
Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Mother of All by Jenna Glass
Narrator: Robin Miles
Published by Penguin Audio on July 20, 2021
Length: 23 hours, 16 minutes
Robin Miles is the narrator of this world for me. The male and female voices were distinct enough and I could easily recognize them having listened to the previous books. I enjoyed listening at my normal 1.5x speed.
Listen to a clip:
- 🎧 Protective Instinct by Fiona Quinn @FionaQuinnBooks@AidenSnowVoice @TantorAudio @LoveAudiobooks #KindleUnlimited - September 24, 2021
- 🎧Survival Instinct by Fiona Quinn @FionaQuinnBooks #JamesCavanuagh @TantorAudio @LoveAudiobooks #KindleUnlimited - September 24, 2021
- Serve N Protect byTee O’Fallon @TeeOFallon @entangledpub @NazareaAndrews @InkSlingerPR - September 23, 2021
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