Ashrinn Chimekin is a Fugitive Recovery Agent tasked with helping the crew of the Shrike in their pursuit of the rogue Cult of Atraxia. When something goes horribly wrong during an infiltration attempt on the cult’s compound, Ashrinn and the crew find themselves on a strange, new world. Worse yet, the cultists made their way to this new world as well.
Told that the capture of the cultists will lead them back home, the simple task becomes much harder when Ashrinn and the crew discover the cultists have allied themselves with the Darkriders, people who will stop at nothing to gain total control over their world. And making matters worse, the cultists have gained mysterious, dangerous magic powers…
Ashrinn forges alliances with the Dragonlords, the force in opposition to the Darkriders, in hopes of stopping both the cultists and the Darkriders once and for all. As she fights, she finds herself getting closer to uncovering the mystery behind the black sword that appears when she’s in dire need – and if it will affect her desire to return home.
Path of the Warrior’s strength lies in its worldbuilding. There was enough detail in the early chapters regarding both the agents and the cultists to make that world feel real, but after they all find themselves on a completely different world, there was so much more to explore and experience. The first world is based in science, while the second features magic and an array of non-human species.
I liked the concept of the Darkriders vs. the Dragonlords as well. Darkriders bond with wyvern, an ancestral enemy of dragons, while Dragonlords bond with dragons. There were a number of different subspecies of both wyvern and dragon, and each had a unique ability innate to their type. In addition to that, there are the winged Siathi, humanoid Wolflings, a feline species (whose name I will probably misspell so I’m not going to attempt it), and more. As I said, the worldbuilding in this book is what really shines.
While the cultists and their strange magical abilities are featured on occasion, the bulk of the story was focused on Ashrinn and the agents. The agents’ goals were very clear; they needed to apprehend the cultists and take them back home to face prosecution for their crimes. The cultist’s goals weren’t as evident. They allied with the Darkriders and planned to stay on the new world, but the reasons behind their actions—particularly the more ruthless ones—were something of a mystery. I hope their motivations will be explained in the second book.
There is a huge cast of characters in the book, but the two I found most intriguing were the twins, Aenek and Kenian. I’d love to know more about their strange dynamic, Kenian’s illness and its unexpected remission, and why Aenek is so determined to remain with the Darkriders, forsaking his brother. I have a soft spot for siblings in stories, so I really would have loved to learn more about those two.
Overall, this was an interesting read set in a unique fantasy world.