The sequel to Wrath of the Orphans is, incidentally, much less wrathful than its predecessor. Motive for Massacre might sound like it gets hairy—and it certainly does—the plot of Motive follows the Everwalk twins along the path to discovering who orchestrated the destruction of their home and the slaughter of its two hundred-or-so citizens, and why.
It’s a much tighter story than Wrath, owing to the fact that it didn’t have to do much world building, allowing Chris Philbrook to immediately focus on the characters and their challenges. It is also stronger as a result.
I listened to Motive on Audible at double-speed, which rendered the problems I mentioned in my Wrath review obsolete. Kevin T. Collins’s narration is strong, if still a little one-dimensional.
Motive spends considerably less time traveling, which contributes to its sense is focus, and lingers on description only long enough to give you a sense of place, except when locations are relevant later in the story. As I said above, this one is really about the characters.
Malwynn and Umaryn find themselves in situations where their thirst for bloody revenge takes a backseat to other desires. Umaryn is quickly realizing that her abilities as an artificer are extraordinary, and Malwynn is falling in love.
The twins are challenged by their individual and collective needs, which drives the first half of the book well. And just before that world have become irksome, the story switches gear and the central arc of the trilogy, discovering who was responsible for the destruction of their home, and why they did it.
Their adventure takes them back on the rails, and they learn much more than they’d anticipated about their family’s past and present. Adventure ensues, but it is in many ways subdued when compared to the explosive and violent action in Wrath.
Motive is a more enjoyable book through and through, though it would be impossible to read without making it through Wrath first. That being said, if your want to commit to (probably) more than forty hours of listening to a dark fantasy and steampunk crossover, you could do much worse than dig in to the Kinless Trilogy.
Motive for Massacre is available from Amazon and Audible.