Release Date: December 8, 2015
Publisher: Open Road Media Tween & Teen
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Young Adult | Steampunk
While investigating a series of mysterious murders, Nate uncovers dark secrets that threaten to reveal the true nature of the Wildenstern family The British Empire is no longer the authority it once was. Instead, it's controlled by private business organizations--the most powerful of which is Ireland's ruthless Wildenstern family. Eighteen-year-old Nathaniel Wildenstern has given up his dreams of travel and adventure to devote himself to being his brother Berto's head of security. With the help of his wife, Daisy, Berto wants to change the barbaric ways of the clan. But there are many among the Wildensterns who like things the way they are, and will resort to whatever devious methods necessary to keep it that way. Meanwhile, the burnt bodies of women are appearing around Dublin. When a connection to the Wildenstern family is discovered, Nate, Daisy, and Nate's sister Tatiana decide to investigate. Soon the young Wildensterns are digging into shadowy societies and dark family secrets that date back to the origin of the engimals, who are part animal, part machine. And what they find could shed light on the savage nature of the Wildensterns themselves.
The Short of it: THE WISDOM OF DEAD MEN is a solid sequel that is loaded with mysteries, unforgiving violence, complicated whodunnit, a white-knuckle read!
The Long-ish of it: Like any adventure book, THE WISDOM OF DEAD MEN is like a puzzle only it started with just the corners: a witch burned to ashes, a kid who miraculously recovered from consumption, more assassination attacks on the current Wildenstern patriarch, a dubious secret society, and a loony bin for aristocratic women. Complicated and exciting enough for you?
I sure had so much fun with this! I have to admit, I got impatient because I want to know how all the dots connect as the threads seem so far-fetched. I wasn't disappointed because when the book started to gain speed, it was bomb after bomb of revelations and casualties. There's not just one big reveal, there's a LOT and the headcount is high. Decapitation, dismemberment, immolation... you get the picture. THE WISDOM OF DEAD MEN is darker in tone than Ancient Appetites, but as this is YA, it told rather than showed. It still elicited the same level of suspense and terror because the outcome of these brutalities is still pretty gruesome even if it's a bit sanitized.
Fast-paced and loaded with a lot of the good stuff that will keep you on your toes, THE WISDOM OF DEAD MEN is an unputdownable read for me. It's also a bonus that OMcGann did a good and concise recap of the previous events so I think you can read the books backwards if not totally skip the previous ones. It's so good though so I strongly discourage the latter, but I also understand that "catching up" can be a challenge so at least you have this option if you want to give Wildenstern Saga a try. Lastly, the book didn't end in a cliffhanger, but the revelations are so juicy you'd want to read the next adventure ASAP!