The book continues the series’ running theme of women’s place in society. It explores the lingering trauma rape has on the victim and the difficulties women face when trying to change their situation. Dishiva face’s sexual discrimination for the first time in her life and her relationship is tainted by her rape in book one. However, it was Miko’s storyline that hit me the hardest.

In control of an army, Miko demonstrates cunning and ruthlessness to defeat her enemies, and when she is reunited with Rah, there are opportunities for their relationship to develop further. However, all her efforts in both war and love are hampered by their language barrier and her advisors’ opinions. Miko and Rah’s desire sizzled on the page, but Miko is judged because of her affection. Any headway she makes in changing beliefs is frustrated by old views that he is a barbarian and she is only a woman.

The Reborn Empire series has been one of my favourites of the last two years. As a series, it is extremely well-paced with an appropriate number of resolutions that satisfies while keeping enough back, so the reader wants more. We Cry for Blood keeps the tension and the stakes high throughout, as you’d want for this portion of the overarching story. Every decision Dishiva makes puts her people at risk, so she must choose between acting and losing people or becoming subservient to Leo. The fate of a nation sits on Miko’s shoulders, and innocent civilians will die if she makes the wrong decision. Rah must choose between the woman he loves and Gideon, the stepbrother he cares for just as much.

In 2022, the series finishes (why do I have to wait so long?), and there is still much to resolve. The one thing I do know is We Cry for Blood has promised us an explosive finale, and with Madson, we’re in safe hands to have our expectations met.