Sandra Valencia does it again with Bridges of Turand: Ode to the Heroes, the third instalment in her breath- taking, Legends from Turand series. Fans of her first two books will not be disappointed, but they may be devastated.

In Bridges of Turand, Alexa has finally returned to her rightful place as High Priestess Valkana, restoring Turand to its state of spiritual harmony. Trouble, however, does not escape Turand for long. For the first time, and against Alexa’s better nature, King Gregor and his council decide to bring the fight to the Sifiq kingdom to end their decades long conflict once and for all. Filled with equally as many joys as sorrows, the book sees our heroes embark on a series of journeys alongside new friends and old ones in a tale of magic, war, and the powers of love and family.

Readers do not get to revel very long in the return of the series protagonist, Alexa; for, at the book’s opening, Valencia foreshadows the death of a major character in the series, immediately establishing the theme of loss, which recurs throughout all three books in the trilogy. Her portrayal of the suffering we endure when we lose what we hold most dear is as profound as ever, whether that loss be of a loved one, an ideal, or connection to ourselves. Following the reveal of this major death, the rest of the book is told via flashback, an interesting choice that sets Bridges of Turand apart from the other books of the series.

Valencia is adept at writing her themes into the actions and temperaments of her deeply compelling characters, who remain one of the trilogy’s standout features. In addition to the characters we know and love, Bridges of Turand introduces a slew of new characters who not only stand on their own, but add an entirely new dimension to the book’s dynamics.

Valencia reprises the signature style of prose that made her first two books so enchanting; the book’s pages are filled with vivid, almost magical descriptions of the landscapes that bring Turand to life in the reader’s mind while conveying powerful themes just beneath the surface. At some points, Bridges of Turand reads almost like poetry; at others, readers are gripped by the contrasting physicality with which Valencia describes the actions of her characters. This balance and juxtaposition of figurative and concrete language not only sets Valencia apart from her contemporaries but finds a special home in this addition of the series. In this way, it is clear that the more she has built on the universe of Turand, the more intimately she herself has come to know it and the more masterful she has become at imparting it to the reader.

In Bridges of Turand, Sandra Valencia replicates everything we love about the Legends from Turand series and finds new, exciting, and heart-breaking ways to keep us on the edge of our seats.