In The Red Lord’s Reach is a more cohesive story than its prequel, Born to Exile, likely because less of it originated as short stories, but I also found it somewhat less appealing. It’s still fun, but Eisenstein sets up a villain in the first segment, and then largely ignores him until the end. While we spend the time getting to know Alaric, the protagonist, as a more fully formed character than in the first book, there’s always the nagging memory of a task left unfinished.
Sadly, as in the first book, Eisenstein wraps up the end in just a few pages. While she takes care to tie off the main threads and tensions, there’s no resolution of Alaric’s larger goals and issues, including the love of his life, Solinde. A symbol of his early life that he’s carried throughout two books eventually just falls by the way, literally, and is left behind.
Still fun, but it feels very much like the middle book of a trilogy that was never finished.