The Scarlett Odyssey, by C.T. Rwizi, has been my ace-in-the-hole recommendation recently. I stumbled onto the first two books last year and as you can tell from my review and the extremely high ranking of Requiem Moon on the Best Of List – I was impressed. I have been using the trilogy as my pocket recommendation for other well-read fantasy lovers looking for a hidden gem since. As such, Primeval Fire, the third and final book of the trilogy has been easily my most anticipated book of 2022. Requiem Moon has such an explosive and insane ending that I had no idea how Rwizi could possibly top it. It turns out, he couldn’t, but that was more of a reflection of how good Moon was as. Fire is still a fun and fabulous conclusion to one of the best new series in the last ten years.
As with most third books in a trilogy, I can’t really talk about the plot of book three without spoiling some pretty major plot elements. The ending of Moon is so great that actually reading the blurb of book three is a really bad idea. What I can say, however, is that as far as endings go Fire checks all the boxes. I liked the resolution of all of the plotlines. The character development was fabulous and all of my favorite protagonists reached wonderful conclusions. The “Odyssey” in question reaches a great end and the story of these characters may be (satisfactorily) over but the door is still open for Rwizi to do more with the fabulous setting.
Speaking of, the science fantasy reimagining of Africa as the Redlands continues to be my favorite new book setting of recent memory. Rwizi continues his rocket to the top with more and more fascinating world-building elements. The magic system (computer programming meets shamanistic totem powers) is still my favorite new power system. Fire just has a world that begs to be inhabited and explored, so why didn’t I like it as much as Moon?
The first issue is that if I mapped the entirety of the three books as one story, I would say the major climax of the whole thing is definitely the ending of book two. So much of the first half of Fire is just recovery and fallout from the ending of Moon and it grinds a previously extremely fast-paced series to an absolute halt. The halt in some ways is actually very nice, as it feels like catching your breath after a full-wind sprint for minutes, but it doesn’t quite have the magic that suffused books one and two. On top of this, there is a major shift in the emphasis of POVs as well as the introduction of a few new ones. While every single one of Rwizi’s characters is fabulous, I do still have favorites and they were the ones deemphasized. This, personally, led to just a slightly smaller investment on my part as a reader.
When I sat down to write this review about Fire, an absolutely fabulous book but one that fell short of its older siblings, I struggled to put my finger on why I liked it a little less. At a high level, after much consideration, I think the best way to encapsulate it is that Fire is simply a little less memorable than Odyssey and Moon. I read Primeval Fire about two months ago (I have been dragging my feet on this review, sorry) and already some of the details are going a little fuzzy. Requiem Moon is basically branded into my psyche and I have forgotten almost none of it.
In the end, Primeval Fire does its job and it does it well. It is both a fabulous book and a fabulous end to a trilogy. Rwizi is one of the great new voices of this generation of fantasy authors and I beg him to keep writing because I need more stories from his wonderful mind. Yet, does Fire live up to the incredible standard that Scarlet Odyssey and Requiem Moon set? Not quite.
Primeval Fire – 8.5/10
Scarlet Odyssey – 9.5/10