Cover Image: Mother of All

Mother of All

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Member Reviews

Basically anytime a fantasy book is centered on women's rights in some way, I'm going to love it, and this was no exception. This story capped off the series in such an exciting way. The worldbuilding throughout the series really made the story come to life and I loved getting to spend one last book in this world that I've grown to love and care about.
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Stunning Conclusion
An evil new magic threatens to undo all the progress women have made in the third and final book in Jenna Glass's riveting feminist fantasy series, following The Women's War and Queen of the Unwanted.
In the once male-dominated world of Seven Wells, women now control their own reproduction, but the battle for equality is far from over. Even with two thrones held by women, there are still those who cling to the old ways and are determined to bring them back.
Now into this struggle comes a darker power. Delnamal, the former King of Aalwell, may have lost his battle to undo the spell that gave women reproductive control, but he has gained a terrible and deadly magic—and he uses these new abilities to raise an army the likes of which the world has never seen. Delnamal and his allies seem like an unstoppable force, destined to crush the fragile new balance between men and women.
Yet sometimes it is possible for determined individuals to stem the tide, and it falls to a unique triad of women—maiden, mother, and crone—to risk everything . . . not only to preserve the advances they  have won but to change the world one final time. 
	In this third novel of the series, Jenna Glass has brought the trilogy to a stunning conclusion. Each viewpoint, each character, is written to highlight the struggle of the women in the world of Seven Wells and bring the arc of the women to a brilliant end. 
	Not only does Jenna Glass intelligently explore the issues facing women in the male dominated world she has created but she also uses it to explore the many issues facing women in our world, themes that will resonate with female readers and also educate men who may not understand those issues. In the female rulers, Alysoon and Elywynne, they must face challenges such as the men around them giving them respect or trusting their judgement. Alysoon must face grief and find a way to come to terms with her daughter’s loss, and find a way to move on. Elwynne faces balancing her desires to aid her husband with what is best for her kingdom. The other women in the novel must find a way to stand up for what they need in their lives versus what is expected. This is a complex book with complex characters, none of whom are black and white in their motivations or actions. 
	The novel encapsulates the past events from the previous two novels and carries forward, creating challenges that are authentic and expected. The women of Seven Wells must find a way to create a resolution that will save women from the men who would force them back into their previous roles but also save Aalwell. Jenna Glass stunningly wraps up the various threats facing the characters in a beautiful and creative fashion. 
	Readers who’ve enjoyed the previous two novels will love this one. The pacing is fast and the action well constructed. The characters are engaging and dynamic. I would not recommend reading the third novel without reading the first two, the pacing works because I’d read the previous novels and there is information that is critical to the novel that you can only obtain from the previous books. But that layering is what makes the story so compelling. I loved reading this wonderful conclusion. 
Rating: 5 out of 5 wells
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I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Mother of All is the third and final installment of the Women's War series. Just like all the previous books, this was so hard for me to put down. I was actually surprised by how much I was enjoying this one. Mostly because things can tend to get boring in bigger books. Luckily, I never found myself feeling that way.

So many things happened throughout this series, and I liked how we revisited some of the topics again. Mostly because I was looking for answers or a final conclusion based on them. However, I still feel like we had so many things to discuss that weren't brought up. Then again, we did have a lot of moving parts throughout these books that I figured some would be swept under the rug.

In the end, I'm really happy that I was introduced to this series and got this book. It was never on my radar to begin with and now I look forward to the next book Jenna writes.
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Fitting end to the trilogy. The characters have had strong narrative arc throughout the whole series and their endings were satisfying in this novel. The book was well plotted and I found that the books got more nuanced as the series went along. So glad that obesity is no longer equivalent to evil which I though was a good fix by the author. Can’t wait to see what she comes out with next!
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I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley.

4 stars for the plot. Not a bad way to end things but I thought some bits dragged or were a tad rushed.
4.5 stars for the characters, who I really became attached too over the series.
4 stars for the writing.

Overall, a satisfying ending to the series though I preferred the first two books.
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Fast paced, great world building, characters were intriguing. Lots of twists and turns for sure. This is great for readers that love a good fast paced story! I was at the edge of my seat with this book! So happy I gave it a shot, definitely adding this author to my watchlist!
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An explosive and feminist finale of a trilogy about women taking control of their own fates in a world where men seek to control them. A powerful epic fantasy combined with feminist messages, MOTHER OF ALL is sure to dazzle and excite fans of the Women's War.
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this was a worthy sequel to The Women's War, I loved the story and going through this world. It was so much fun reading this.
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I had a major delay with this one so that I could read the previous two in the trilogy first. I love the premise of the story, but I don’t think this needed to be a trilogy - it could have been one high energy jam-packed singular novel. The trilogy dragged for me, and by the time I got to this one, I just wanted it to be over.
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All I can really say about this book is, "Wow!" I adored the first book. I liked the middle book, though it was not my favorite. I have been a fan of this series since I picked up a copy of the first book while at the library one day and have been hooked ever since. This book simply has too much going on to try to explain in a short review. What I loved is that many characters, even those we see as "evil" have even more depth and are much more complex than we originally thought in the previous two books. While the middle section did start to go a bit too slow for me at one point, looking back, I know why it was done that way. There needed to be that area in order to build up to the grand finish. I could go on forever about this book, but it would take far too long to try to gather all of my thoughts on all of the amazingly well written parts of this book. Bravo to the author! I hope to see more from you in the future!
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I received a copy of this book for a fair and honest review. I have read the two book that came before in this trilogy. I could not wait to see how this all wrapped up. The world building is still just amazing as it has been all along. The story picks back after some victories and losses. The battle for equality is still far from over, but they are making improvements. There is a king and his allies who want things to go back to the way it was before. Two throne now held by women but it may not be enough to hold off what is coming. The characters in this series are so bold and strong regardless of what side of the war they are on. This makes the conflict that is going on in this story far more believable.
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When last we saw our heroines, sacrifices had been made, friends had been lost, and despite the strides individually made, the future of Women's Well and women everywhere seemed yet again threatened. But Delnamal was defeated and they won back Altah, right? Well. 
Some things ARE too good to be true. 
Delnamal has a creepy power that is getting to his head, and he's going to continue to threaten Altah, Alys, and everything she has built. Plus, Waldimar is looking to join Altah's enemies and strike against Ellin and her kingdom. When Waldimar's first wife escapes from Nandel and shares the vision she has been seeing, of three women sacrificing themselves to each defeat a specific (yet unknown) man, it seems pretty likely that three women will lose their lives to ensure their independence. The Mother of All, however, is never quite that straightforward in her visions. 

On the one hand, book 3 concluded the trilogy in a satisfying way. All the character arcs came to a close, the conflicts were resolved, and we see a brighter future for the world. On the other hand, I thought they got off too lightly. No spoilers. It just seemed too perfect, considering all of the pain they've been through. (Not that they don't DESERVE a good ending, it just makes the previous loss seem cheaper.)
I enjoyed the first two books because I loved learning about the world and the magic, and the characters were super interesting. Book 3 does have some new character viewpoints, but the main characters are still the main characters—as it should be, I just found myself getting bored with them. Yes Alys still misses her daughter. Ellin is still fighting with her council and resolving stuff with Zarsha. Kailee still wants friends. Delnamal continues to struggle with the aspects of his personality. Where Mairah added a very interesting perspective in book 2, book 3 didn't have that. Leehan (?) was not developed enough to be interesting... we had heard OF her in previous books but she wasn't really a character until book 3, where she does stuff but isn't much of a character. 
In other words, book 1 and 2 had enough wonder to carry me through the infuriating writing style and portions of immature dialog, but book 3 was a drag. It took me more than a month to finish it. I absolutely hated how every short section (a few pages) within a chapter focused on not just different characters but different characters in entirely different groups. It made it feel scattered. Jump to Ellin, then waaaaay over to Delnamal for some reason, then let's watch Kaylee pine away, then randomly we'll find ourselves back with Leehan. 

That said, if you read books 1 and 2 and enjoyed them, I can't think of a reason you shouldn't read book 3. Even if it wasn't as good as the other two, it was still the end to the journey.
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Okay, wow. Not only did I love Jenna Glass before this novel, but this was a whole new level of fantasy written by a woman with incredible female leading the plot. 
To say I was captured is an understatement. 
If a reader ever decides to take the leap into higher fantasy, I truly hope they take a chance and read this set of novels. They were absolutely page turning and I can’t wait to read more.
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Three “things”, three truths, lie underneath the entire Women’s War trilogy. One is the old saying about power corrupting and absolute power corrupting absolutely. This is a world where men have absolute power over women, a power so absolute that it has corrupted the entire society. A power that is used so callously and so heinously that it takes three generations of planning and sacrifice for a trio of desperate women to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to even make a dent in the absolute supremacy of male power.

The second truth is a much more recent saying, the one about man making “God” in his own image. The entire myth of the “Creator”, his “Mother” and the “Destroyer” that squats at the heart of the religion of Seven Wells is certainly a deity made in the image of men. Not humankind, just men. They use their state-entwined religion to explain and excuse the systemic abuse of women at every turn.

It is, however, equally true that if man makes his god in his own image, so does woman. Which is where the title of this entry in the series derives its meaning.

And last, but not least, something that is not so succinctly phrased as the above two concepts, but feels like a truth for this series, is that when a society yokes political power and religious authority, all they are really doing is greasing the skids down the road to hell.

The story of Women’s War is a single story spread over three not insubstantial parts, meaning that it begins in the first book, The Women’s War, continues in Queen of the Unwanted, and concludes here in Mother of All. This is very much NOT three books that each stands alone, but one long and complex story that must be begun at the beginning in order for the ending to have the weight and heft and gravitas that it deserves.

Because it most definitely does deserve all those things. And I say all of the above in spite of the fact that, as much as I enjoyed both the first book, The Women’s War, and this one, that middle book drove me right straight up the wall. But what happened there is necessary in order to understand how all the characters and this world reach the events of this final book in the trilogy.

As this final chapter opens, the chess pieces are all on the board, but not necessarily in the places we expect. Sovereign Princess Alysoon of Women’s Well begins the story believing that the situation in Seven Wells might get better, albeit as slowly as the reactionaries in most other countries can arrange. Her friend, Sovereign Queen Ellinsoltah, is on the throne of neighboring Rhozinolm, and Ellin’s Prince Consort Zarsha is one of the very few men in this story who is not an absolute ass. Not that he’s perfect, because he’s far from that, but he is on the side of change and is eager to help both Ellin and Alys effect that change.

That he is also Ellin’s spymaster makes him an extremely useful player on their side.

Aaltah, Alys’ birthplace, is now in the hands of her brother Tynthanal as Prince Regent. Their hated half brother Delnamal, the previous king, is believed to be dead as the result of an accident or incident or catastrophe or all of the above at the site of Aaltah’s Well, the source of the kingdom’s magical power. Whatever happened to the former king, a catastrophe certainly happened both at and to the Well, a catastrophe that Tynthanal is expected to fix.

A catastrophe that has impacted Aaltah’s magic, its ability to create the magical items that fuel its import/export trade agreements and therefore its economy. A catastrophe that appears to have had even more dire consequences that are just beginning to make themselves known. And unfortunately for pretty much everyone, reports of Delnamal’s death turn out to be, not exactly greatly exaggerated, but terrifyingly incorrect in those all-important pesky details where the devil, or in this case the Destroyer, is considered to reside.

But the situation in Seven Wells is much more precarious than first appears. It must be or there wouldn’t be an entire book yet to come. This world, and the gains that women have made in it, are not yet safe. It will require another trio of women to make another potentially grave sacrifice in order for this place to have a future. Not just a future where everyone can thrive, but any future at all.

Escape Rating A: Short summary of the series – loved the first book, wasn’t all that thrilled with the second but it was necessary, loved the third book. This book. Mother of All brought this epic trilogy to an appropriately epic conclusion, and it made wading through all the setup and political positioning and maneuvering in the second book worth the wade. Also worth the wait of anticipating this conclusion.

Seriously, I planned to listen to this one, but switched to the much faster ebook at barely the halfway point because I was so caught up in this and needed to find out how they collectively got out of the many, many catastrophes that were heading in their direction with all the speed of a juggernaut careening down the side of a mountain.

One of the things that is true throughout this series, that the reader is kind of bludgeoned with at the very beginning, is that this world is seriously messed up, totally FUBAR’d beyond not just recognition but beyond all reason, and that the overall arc of the series is the one-step-forward and sometimes ten-steps-back need to, well, unfuck the whole thing. Especially as it seems as if 90% of the men would rather life went back to the way things were when they could rape and murder women at will without repercussions of any kind. (There are fantasy worlds I might be interested in living in, like Pern and Celta. I wouldn’t touch Seven Wells with someone else’s severed hand.)

It’s not just that women have not just few but absolutely ZERO rights and are not just considered property but are legally chattel to either their fathers or their husbands is just the tip of the rotten iceberg. It’s honestly much worse than that. But, and a huge but, as much as some readers may want to see that as a situation for epic fantasy without application to the real world, I believe that there are and were plenty of patriarchal societies, past and present, in the real world that may not have been quite as awful for women but only missed this level of horror by a hair’s breadth.

All of the above makes this series not exactly a comfort or even a comfortable read, no matter how much one might love epic fantasy. Rather it makes for a searing and emotional read, as the reader is taken on an emotional roller coaster ride with characters who seem all too real in their hopes, their challenges, and the danger they face just for being women in a society that believes they are barely human and punishes them harshly if they attempt to assert even a minimal level of control over their own lives.

And that’s what makes this story, in spite of its frequent walks through very dark places, such a compelling read. It’s the characters. It’s walking by their sides and hoping with them against all hope that they might have made just enough of a difference in their world that their daughters will have a better future than their mothers.

Reviewer’s Note: If you’ve ever played Dragon Age Inquisition, Delnamal is kind of a dead ringer for Corypheus, all puns intended, although Delnamal manages to come to a much better end.
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Review: 5 Stars

I have been stalking the release of this book ever since I finished Queen of the Unwanted. When I got a review copy I dropped what I was reading and picked up Mother of All right away. I really loved the first two books in this trilogy, so I had really high hopes for this concluding book of the series. I am really pleased to say that once again Jenna Glass delivered and I was blown away by Mother of All. I am sad that this is the end of the series, but so glad that I gave this series a chance.

Mother of All is a character driven political fantasy, and the characters are really done well. While there are many characters in this series this book focused on Kailee, Alys and Leethan. It was interesting to see Leethan play a bigger role because in previous books she was a minor character and I really grew to love her in this installment. I also loved Kailee’s role in this book, she has really become one of my favorite characters of the series. I really love that this series focused on a variety of different women all who had strength in their own way. While Alys’s point of view is in every book of the series, each installment had different main characters.

Once again it was Alys who I love the most. In this book she really struggles with grief and depression, but still finds strength to fight against injustice. I found her easy to relate to and I really empathized with her as she struggled with her grief. I really think that The Women’s War trilogy did a great job showing grief over the loss of a loved one. So often in fantasy novels characters die, but most of the time it doesn’t feel so impactful because the characters don’t suffer with grief. Jenna Glass did a fantastic job developing here characters so that you could really empathize with their feelings, whether they we joy, heartbreak, anger or grief, I was really able to feel what each of the characters were going through.

While this is a character driven novel it also has an outstanding plot. The book follows four main points of view: Delnemal, Leethan, Kailee and Alys, and while I had an idea of how the characters might come together it was executed really well. The climax of this book blew me away and I was up really late because I couldn’t walk away from the action. All of the plot lines had twists and turns, keeping me on the edge of my seat, until they all came together for an epic ending. I was really pleased with the way the series concluded. While it’s always hard to finish a series and leave beloved characters behind, I felt like the ending did the series justice. I was glad there was an epilogue so I could see how everything turned out for the characters that I loved.

Mother of All was an epic conclusion to this feminist fantasy series. If you were like me and you are on the fence about whether this series is worth a shot or not, I urge you to give it a chance. This series has made my favorites list and I look forward to seeing more from Jenna Glass.
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There were parts of the book that made me not want to put it down, but overall it felt rushed, which made it hard to connect to the characters.
The style of writing, which skipped between all the characters for the important moments in the plot, distanced me from the characters in a way that the previous 2 in the series did not. By skipping around so much I felt like I was getting a high-level overview of the plot instead of feeling it through the character's mind and emotions.
Overall, it was good. I just wish for more time spent on the little things in character development.
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I liked this, I thought it was a good conclusion to the series and liked where all of our characters ended up. That being said, I think there was just too much going on. The series had a lot of potentials but really dropped the ball by introducing too many new characters and convoluted plot lines. 
Again, I wish the author would have played more with gender as this is a very binary world and it would have been nice to see deviance. 
All in all, I think this was a good series, but not a great one.
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Shelby – ☆☆☆☆
3.75 stars

MOTHER OF ALL is the third and final book in the Women's War series. I've loved this series from the first book and couldn't contain my excitement for the conclusion!

I may have had too high expectations because I wasn't all that excited while reading it. The characters were all here, the Blessing/Curse was still present, and the men are still angry.

The story took a long time to develop, it was a lot of conversations between characters without any action.

I love this world that the author, Jenna Glass, created. I love the characters and the magic system, I hate the villains, and dislike even more when I empathize with them.

Overall, this was a solid conclusion to a great series. I was just hoping for more. I feel like some ends were tied too neatly to really fit this story.
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This review was originally posted on <a href="" target="_blank"> Books of My Heart</a>

<i>Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.</i>

4.5 hearts

<em>The <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><strong>Women's War</strong></a> series has the usual historical fantasy world where women have almost no choices. Their primary worth is to bear an heir for men in the patriarchal society. Men control the magic. Men can also choose to send women to a whorehouse for the "unwanted."  This includes wives who can't have children, or if the man wants someone else, or even daughters.  There, the unwanted are bought for sex or toil in creating spells, where the earnings go to the kingdom. (So women can do magic if it is as a slave in production mode)</em>

<em>In the first book,<strong> Women's War</strong>, there were considerable battles and the primary characters were women. They were women of royal families.  Their magic bloodlines were powerful and one created a spell to give women power over their own fertility. Men were not happy.  One women leaves her kingdom and finds a new magic well and forms a new kingdom.  Another woman becomes queen when her grandfather and parents are both dead. So now two kingdoms are ruled by women.</em>

<em><strong>Queen of the Unwanted</strong> is more of a character study with much less action and battle. I kept expecting a big fight. Men were not happy and kept trying to undermine the women. Unfortunately for them, the woman were fairly successful in their politics and magic.</em>

In the final book in the trilogy, <strong>Mother of All</strong> , we find out what happened after the stunning events at the end of the last book.  I worried all year about Delnamel being out on the loose.  Of course, he couldn't die.  He had to gain new powers which are very hard to counteract.  Because his mother is from Khalpar , he is sheltered by her in this holy patriarchy kingdom.  They are the only support he has to get out and regain his kingdom and get vengeance.

Tynthanal is in a tough situation in Aaltah.  Most people aren't happy with him as ruler, but think he might have a better chance of fixing their well because of his connection with magic.  He also is adjusting to his new marriage to Kailee, while his love Chanlix is still in Women's Well.  He is working with seers to try to figure out what happened to the well to fix it, as well as reading what they have of Mairahsol's notes. " Mother of All" is a religious term women use for the original deity, mother of the Creator, particularly seers.

Ellin in Rhozinolm is working hard to handle her kingdom.  She needs to take a husband to solidify trade agreements, and stop the efforts to marry her off for various political advantages. The negotiations were rough, but she is able to choose her husband. He will be a prince consort and not take over rule.  She is happy with her new husband, but the deal meant his old Prince, Waldmir got to take all his holdings there.  He is worried, with good reasons, about the servants and people he left there.

Waldmir has his own problem with only having daughters and no sons in a country where only men rule and women are seen as property.  He keeps killing off wives to take new ones to try for a son.  He is ambivalent about his youngest daughter because her mother escaped. So he sends the 5 year old Elwynne to the Abbey.  The Abbey is run by his original wife, Leethan, who is a seer, and tells him she has now seen he will not ever have a son.   Leithan sets on a path to try to save Elwynne.

Alys is still in mourning for her daughter, and continues ruling Women's Well.  Her son, Corlin, who has had severe temper outbreaks, is in the citadel to train for war.  Alys is getting marriage proposals but does not feel ready to stop mourning or to deal with a new husband.  With the war beginning in Aalwell, and her son in the fighting force,  she feels she needs to be there, at the well, to reduce any damage Delnamel might try to cause.

Such is the world, where Delnamel sets out to get his revenge. All these storylines keep things fascinating, as things build to Delnamel going back to Aaltah to fix the well and enact revenge.  But Delnamel has a different plan than his Khalpar army which just wants to shove women back into their place and reverse the initial spell which gave women the right to choose whether they would have children or not.

I fretted terribly about all the strong women and their fates.  They worked so hard to get just a little freedom and safety.  Delnamel's power seemed nearly unstoppable but the women figured out options to save the well and Aaltah.   I was satisfied with the exciting battle
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Title:  Mother of All
Author:  Jenna Glass
Genre:  Fantasy
Rating:  4 out of 5

In the once male-dominated world of Seven Wells, women now control their own reproduction, but the battle for equality is far from over. Even with two thrones held by women, there are still those who cling to the old ways and are determined to return the world to the way it was.

Now into this struggle comes a darker power. Delnamal, the former King of Aalwell, may have lost his battle to undo the spell that gave women reproductive control, but he has gained a terrible and deadly magic, and he uses these new abilities to raise an army the likes of which the world has never seen. Delnamal and his allies seem like an unstoppable force, destined to crush the fragile new balance between men and women.

Yet sometimes it is possible for determined individuals to stem the tide, and it comes down to a unique triad of women--maiden, mother, and crone--to risk everything...not only to preserve the advances they have won but to change the world one final time.

I did not read the first book in this trilogy---not something that I recommend---but I was able to jump into book two without much problem. And, I very much enjoyed this book, the last in the trilogy. The magic system is unique as are the cultures and societies. Very strong female characters and some of the men are excellent characters as well—although some of them are total jerks. This is a solid fantasy read that I do recommend!

Jenna Glass has been writing since the fifth grade. Mother of All is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Random House/Del Rey in exchange for an honest review.)

(review live 7/24.)
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