At the end of Kinslayer (book two of The Lotus War series), the Kagé rebellion has struck against the Shima Imperium and the Lotus Guild, only to have their efforts thwarted by betrayal from within. While Yukiko and Buruu returned in time to assist in the assault, some of the Kagé blame Yukiko for leaving in the first place. They also blame her for her lack of control and for her faith in Kin, the Guildsman who defected to join the Kagé (whom many believe was the one who betrayed them). Wounds and losses, both mental and physical, have pushed the rebels to the very brink. As the surviving rebels recuperate and re-group after the battle, the rebellion begins to splinter. While all of the rebels want the Lotus Guild destroyed, exactly how that will be accomplished (and whether the aid of allies will be sought) may be the undoing of the rebellion.
In counterpoint, the Lotus Guild, is finally prepared to destroy the rebellion using Earthcrusher, a gargantuan machine designed and built to threaten and destroy the Guild’s enemies. But is that its only purpose?
In Endsinger, author Jay Kristoff completes the Lotus War trilogy, with a battle that leaves the fate of the Shima Islands--and quite possibly the entire world--at risk. The circumstances at the end of Kinslayer were dire. Kristoff finds a way to raise the stakes higher than might have been thought possible, but he also provides resolutions that are believable and satisfying. All of the issues raised in the earlier books in the series are addressed, while the story keeps moving towards its conclusion.
One of the most interesting aspects of the book is the conflict between the futility and necessity of war. Kristoff, through different characters and at different points in the story, explores how there are no real winners on either side when countries engage in battle. While the reality remains that there will always be powers that need to be stopped, Kristoff emphasizes the inescapable and tragic costs of doing so.
Like Leigh Bardugo’s Ruin and Rising, which ended the Grisha trilogy earlier this year, Endsinger is an incredibly satisfying conclusion to The Lotus War series.