We only get a few second chances…
In Phantasya’s supernatural paradise, the Warriors and their friends hope to rest for a while. Soon, however, trials and revelations arise for each Kota Warrior. Rave and Arctos travel back to Ebon to finish a mission they thought was over, this time with a shocking ally. Amu, struggling to find her place again, teleports to Rowen and discovers a secret hidden since Earth. Left on Phantasya, Kynacoba and Galcon fight a devilish enemy who could lead the natives into horrific rebellion against their Guardian.
Meanwhile, the isolation of Trok’s immortality begins to take its toll. Knowing how this future ends, he must do what’s best for everyone involved. But Phantasya is a world fated to test man’s faith, and the Phantasyans aren’t the only ones plagued by doubt.
How do you best fight a losing battle? The more the Warriors discover, the trickier their choices become.
“Pharmakon opens with an explanation for how time travel works in the Kota series, including insight into the relationship between time and space. It’s relentless clever and something completely new, and that’s exactly what Somerville continues to deliver three books into the series. It’s a giddy rush to find a new take on a genre trope, and if you’ve been following the series up to this point it’s a game-changing reveal. It’s the “We have to move the Island” moment.
One of the great strengths of the series is the way Somerville knows this world and its inhabitants so well. In the third book, the setting changes drastically once again, but everything we’ve seen makes sense with what came before. It’s sprawling but consistent – we can go all over this universe, but everything we’ve seen belongs in the same universe. The way it fits together only gives the ongoing story more power.
And yet, Pharmakon has its own identity beyond its role in bringing the overall story toward its conclusion. Somerville has always excelled at combining action, character moments, and world-building, and this mix is only getting better with each new entry. There’s an impressive hook to Pharmakon that reveals itself early on – it’s a complicated idea that comes across so clearly. I’d rather not spoil it, but once it happened, I worried that it wouldn’t be logically sustainable or just cause the narrative to fold in on itself, but that’s absolutely not the case. I can’t even imagine the work it took to have it all make sense, but everything comes together beautifully.
I’ve been so impressed with the way the Kota series features characters who, at their introduction, could have been stock sci-fi characters. Trok, for example, fits a very particular archetype and that could have turned into a shorthand that replaced character development. But every single time there’s a smart twist or a surprising insight that leaves them miles away from what you assumed. I was a Trok fan going into Pharmakon and it was so exciting to find out so much more about his character and learn that my assumptions were a mile off.
Pharmakon, like the previous entries in the series, is a parade of new ideas and fully realized characters. It’s smart, fun, involving, and maybe most important, it’s new. Whenever it starts to feel like something you’ve seen before, there’s a swerve you’ll never see coming that changes everything. Three books in and Somerville and her Warriors are still full of surprises.” – 5 Star Amazon Review