“Some Have Greatness Thrust Upon Them”: Heidi Heilig’s On This Unworthy Scaffold

Release Date: April 27, 2021
Series: Shadow Players #3
Publisher: Greenwillow
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy


Jetta’s home is spiraling into civil war.

Le Trépas—the deadly necromancer—has used his blood magic to wrest control of the country, and Jetta has been without treatment for her malheur for weeks. Meanwhile, Jetta’s love interest, brother, and friend are intent on infiltrating the palace to stop the Boy King and find Le Trépas to put an end to the unleashed chaos.

The sweeping conclusion to Heidi Heilig’s ambitious trilogy takes us to new continents, introduces us to new gods, flings us into the middle of palace riots and political intrigue, and asks searching questions about power and corruption. As in the first two books, the story is partly told in ephemera, including original songs, myths, play scripts, and various forms of communication.

My Thoughts

The previous books have touched on Jetta’s relationship with the lytheum elixir that keeps her bipolar disorder (what the characters refer to as her “malheur”) in check, but the third explores it in depth. In the past, Jetta has both wanted the elixir and had it forced on her without her consent. At the beginning of On This Unworthy Scaffold, she’s in a position where she feels like she has to have it but can’t access it. Lytheum, the elixir, has been a shackle around her neck and a life-saver, and now she’s come to a point where it is a tool that helps her function. She is neither consumed by the dampening effects of the lytheum or consumed by her malheur without it…

To read the rest of my review, head over to Tor.com.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a review copy.

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