Since then the world has changed. Vesper, following the footsteps of her father, journeyed to the breach and closed the tear between worlds, protecting the last of humanity, but also trapping the infernal horde and all those that fell to its corruptions: willing or otherwise.
In this new age it is Vesper who leads the charge towards unity and peace, with seemingly nothing standing between the world and a bright new future.
That is until eyes open.
And The Seven awakes.
The Seven is the concluding volume to The Vagrant trilogy, Peter Newman’s unique debut series. And there is so much packed into this last book. Vesper is back to her quest for peace between humanity and the infernals and the Vagrant, Jem, Samael, the buck (formerly known as the kid), and Gamma’s sword all make a return appearance to aid her. They are joined by more old acquaintances and two very important new characters, Vesper and Jem’s daughter Reela and Delta of the Seven. Between them we not only get to see what happens when the Seven awaken, we witness Vesper’s battle for peace and all the accompanying messiness, but also how the smallest acts — of trust, of kindness, of anger — can have the biggest consequences.
The main action in the novel is Vesper’s campaign to create peace. A tough challenge only complicated by the awakening of the Seven. There are two aspects to this thorny problem that resonated with problems we’re facing in our own world. The first is, how do you get two groups that have been so diametrically opposed in the past to work and live together. And not just that, but build a sense of trust between them? And secondly, the question Vesper poses to the Seven after their purging raids: now what? A question we often ask after having “won” a war, when countries have to be rebuilt and people need to get their lives back to a new normal. The ways Newman explores these questions on both larger and smaller scales are fascinating and food for thought.
We also learn about the nature of the Seven: who made them and why. The ambiguous nature of their creator was compelling and even now I’m not certain whether she was a benevolent or a nefarious character. What I really liked was learning more about the swords and the realisation that they are an integral part of The Seven, made as part and parcel, not as a separate tool. Because that also means that Gamma’s sword isn’t just Gamma’s sword, it is her essence. Delta’s growth throughout the narrative is amazing. It makes a case for the argument that a self-acknowledged flawed person is more flexible than a perfect, utterly self-convinced one, because someone like Delta can still grow and change, while Alpha is rigid in his own righteousness—it is the difference between thinking you CANNOT be wrong and if someone disagrees you must obliterate them and admitting you may have erred and adjust your course accordingly.
There are so many wonderful things in this novel. Once again, Newman explores parenthood and its difficulties in a fabulous manner. The different ways Vesper and Jem struggle with being a parent and with each other was heartbreaking. Jem’s anger at feeling excluded from both Vesper’s and Reela’s affection was so tangible and understandable, even if at times I just wanted to tell him to suck it up. Reela is amazing — Newman writes children so well — and she was a joy to read. Her connection to both her grandfather and Delta was super touching. She is pivotal to the plot, not as a pawn that people need to protect or fight over, but in her own right through her own actions and personality and I loved that.
Newman once again expands his world, even if the characters have already traversed it twice. Not only do we witness the destruction of a large number of cities, we also get to see what happens if the taint is left to fester in isolation on Ferrous, a secluded station in the middle of the sea where we meet the creepiest people who aren’t exactly infernal, but aren’t human anymore either. Two other wondrous places we visit and discover are Alpha’s palace and Wonderland, they are so different and in a way magical. But the most impressive of all is the Crucible, the place Vesper created so humans and infernals can meet and negotiate. It is large, it is sprawling and the different groups that gather there are all intriguing. The battle that is fought at Crucible is epic and features a cameo of two knights we’ve met as squires in the novella The Vagrant and the City. I really enjoyed that Newman included them, as I have to admit I had been looking for them throughout the narrative.
With The Seven Peter Newman brings the Vagrant’s story to a triumphant close. I love that everyone gets a good ending including the buck, even if it isn’t always ecstatically happy and definitely not the one you’d traditionally expect. I’m sad to say goodbye to this world and these characters, especially as Newman has stated that he’ll likely not return to them. But I’m also really excited to see what Newman does next and I look forward to his new series.
This book was provided for review by the publisher.
This review is part of the blog tour for The Seven. Make sure to visit the other stops!