Last night, slid low in a bath filled with eucalyptus scented bubbles, I finished Remember the Dust, the last book in the Leagues and Legends series by author E. Jade Lomax.
But the thing is, I can’t really properly review this last book without spoiling a lot of things. And since I just did a complete re-read of the first two books before I started the last, I feel like it’s a good idea to just do a write-up of them all. I’m going to do the first book fairly spoiler free and then do the second under their own entries (my way of putting spoilers under cuts because nobody likes a snitch–except for Quidditch players, my mind is yelling and, so, even though that’s not the type of snitch I meant, I feel compelled to put in a little side note, dear god do you guys see what you’re getting into here?).
First of all let’s talk about how Lomax (ink-splotch on tumblr) has put the books up for free. There are print copies available for purchase–and when I can recover from the holiday over-spending and have money to buy the whole series in one go you can get your butts I will be–but there are also copies available for download for free online in a variety of formats.
So first point is that this series will cost you nothing to get your hands on and will bring you incredible amounts of joy in return (and heartbreak and tears, but a lot of joy).
Having said all that let’s drive right into book one.
When I first downloaded Beanstalk in 2015 (goes off to check when I actually downloaded the book–I know you wouldn’t know this if I wasn’t running my gob but–yup May of 2015) I started and stopped the first 30 pages half a dozen times. I had found the book through the winding black hole of a late night Tumblr adventure and for whatever reason just wasn’t in the right frame of mind to read this book.
Or maybe I was afraid.
There was something in the first few pages that gripped hooks into my stomach and said “you are going to care way, way too much about what happens between these pages. Tread carefully”. And since the first few chapters are only introducing you to the places and people that you will come to love and who will come to destroy you, it was pretty easy to put it down at first.
That doesn’t last long.
And it doesn’t last at all from from the end of the first book through the end of the third, and final chapter.
But I digress. We’re talking about Beanstalk here.
Beanstalk starts with a note about the way people believe in heroes and then drops you right in the middle of Sally-Anne’s Fish Shop where a group of five students: Jack, Grey, Laney, Clem and Rupert have made their way down from the Academy to put in some work on their group assignment.
The Academy is in the business of training groups of heroes and our five friends are each there learning a specific course of study: Guide, Sage, Mage, Combat-Spec, and Hero.
When a group of men intent on breaking into the magework shop next door take the restaurant hostage, our group of five doesn’t stay put or quiet for very long.
And you start, in trickles, to understand the pasts and pieces of the four main characters (Clem the Combat-Spec, it turns out, is put out of commission with a bullet to the leg pretty early due to his inability to be subtle back in the fish shop). Our rag-tag bunch of heroes-in-training spend the rest of the book at the Academy, but spend more time learning how to be friends while protecting the city of Rivertown than in their various classes.
Beanstalk is a great adventure, a story that touches the edges of what it means to be a hero. More then that, it’s a story about friendship and finding a place where, maybe, you can belong and do some good. The book ends, not on a cliffhanger, but with its hand outstretched in your direction, inviting you onto the next adventure.