I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Source: Netgalley
publication date: July 25, 2017
publisher: Feiwel & Friend
The Razorland saga continues. Since the war ended, Tegan has dreamed of an epic journey, so when she has the opportunity to sign on as ship’s doctor, she can’t wait. It’s past time to chart her course. Millie Faraday, the kindest girl in the free territories, also yearns to outrun her reputation, and warrior-poet James Morrow would follow Tegan to the ends of the earth.
Their company seems set, but fate brings one more to their number. Tegan will battle incredible odds while aiding Szarok, the Uroch vanguard, who has ventured forth to save his people. Szarok is strange and beautiful, like a flower that blooms only in the dark. She shouldn’t allow him close, as such a relationship is both alien and forbidden. But through stormy seas and strange lands, she will become stronger than she ever knew.
This was legit the best way to conclude the series. (I think this is the end? I wouldn’t say no to more though…) I mean, I was content enough at the conclusion of the original trilogy, but this brought a happy ending to some of the secondary characters previously left behind. They needed this, and so did I.
I always felt like Tegan got the short end of the stick. She had clearly suffered more than anyone has a right to. She seemed to largely be at peace with her past in the final book of the trilogy, but her story was hardly a fairy tale with a happily ever after. She deserved more. This brings me to the best part of this book: getting a glimpse into what was going on inside her head that whole time. I came to understand that just because Tegan always seemed so nice, it didn’t mean she wasn’t battling her own demons.
By the end of the book, Tegan had grown so much, she was practically unrecognizable from her previous incarnation. She wasn’t the only one to change and adapt, but her transformation was clearly the highlight of Vanguard for me.
With the return of Szarok, the Uroch vanguard (and the origin of the book’s title, so he could be kinda important to the story…), the reader is given a whole new perspective into the Uroch community. Though he has been trained in human customs, he struggles with being around them. Szarok is there to learn, but he ends up teaching more than he could have expected.
Can I also give Ann Aguirre a shout out for incorporating so many same-sex couples? It adds to the overall message of universal love, and I embraced it fully. <3