Hardest Fall is the third book in The Dominion Series.
The way Cross pits the lovers against each other represents one of the most thrilling aspects of this book.
The angst contrasts with the hero (Xander) and heroine’s (Bone) attraction.
I also love that the dystopian setting doesn’t feel depressing. It feels like a ray of hope, because of the beautiful things I found there.
Read this series in order
The books in the series are advertised as standalone.
However, I recommend that you read the first book first to understand all the elements of the world Cross has built.
The characters ‘sift’ as a means of transporting from one place and time to another.
About 25% the way through, I gained a sense of what ‘sifting’ means in this world, when Xander ‘fell into the Void, sifting through black, gray shapes, zipping past …’
Until then, I felt unsure as to what ‘sifting’ meant.
So my recommendation is to read this series in order. Don’t pick up the latest release, like I did. He he.
The tainted demon hunter
At the beginning, George brings Xander to a demoness for healing. Xander is on death’s door, and he finds himself healed, but at a cost: a demoness’s essence has been woven into his body.
He’s not too happy about that, considering that he hunts demons.
Apart from being upset that his body has been tainted with demon essence, Xander has some wonderful qualities. One of them is compassion. He seems to have a lot of empathy for those he loves: Bone and Maddie.
Maddie is also a seraph, like Bone, but I think it takes a compassionate person to perceive beauty when they are surrounded by death and destruction.
This is how Xander describes Maddie singing in the ruins of London:
Maddie’s hauntingly beautiful voice was only half its potential, had me mesmerized …
If he were only concerned about hunting demons, he would have dismissed the song of a child seraph. I find it sexy that he didn’t.
I don’t believe she is neutral
Bone is a demoness who is also a seraph.
In Cross’s world, seraphs can use their songs to bind essences to metal, but also to influence humans, to either encourage them or make them despair.
She is one badass demoness.
Both demons and the humans obtain their weapons from her.
She uses her ability to bind essences to metal to make these weapons.
Just after she heals Xander, Rook, a demon of high stature, commissions Bone to make a crown embedded with Rook’s essence.
She believes that each side should have an equal opportunity to defend themselves, and this is why she provides weapons to both sides.
By the same token, Bone is unsure she should or could make this weapon for Rook.
I feel as though Bone wants to side with the humans, but rather than being neutral, she feels compelled to interact with the demons because they are the dominant force.
She’s definitely participating in the war by providing the weapons. She’s not neutral, but more of an unwilling participant.
A mythological world of depth
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There is a lot to love about Hardest Fall.
I love the fact that there are dragons flying around the ruins of London.
I also love the reference to Twelfth Night.
The Twelvers are a nice touch. They form the human resistance to fight against the demons.
The book provides a depth of description, which causes the reader to be flooded with some intense imagery.
Black blood and cinders sprayed the air with the repeated flash of green ether fire.
I like the images of priests in red robes wielding razor-sharp blades in battle.
All this imagery means that there is a lot of description though.
As I progressed further, I loved how richly it is narrated. If I were you, and you haven’t heard of this series yet, I would pick up the first book to get a sense of the world and then move on to Hardest Fall.