I really enjoyed this book. There was just something about being drawn into this world that just felt right. I hadn’t read the first book in 8 months, but jumping right back into the world never felt awkward. Nor was I constantly reminded and hand held about events from the first book. That is something I respect in books that made me enjoy it just a little more. That said, I liked this one just a little bit less than the first, but only barely and it was mainly due to issues with the plot.
Rather than drag out what didn’t work for me, I’ll get right into it and let you know about the problems I had with the plot. Other than the fact that the plot only had a few main events with the rest of the book building out the world, my actual issue was with the way tension was built in the novel. Due to the way events evolved in the plot you got a number of resolutions before a new event scrounged up and you realized that the resolution you had wasn’t a true resolution. While these events tied together beautifully in hindsight, they did not work well within the narrative. The rise and fall of tension didn’t work. Since resolutions were formed the tension would drop out completely as you waited for the next big event to happen that you knew would since there was still so much of the book left. If the plot seeded the events a little better it wouldn’t have had to go from a dead stop or near stop so many times. It hurt the tension in the novel.
The actual plot and the events that occurred worked really well for the characters though. I enjoyed that Celeana and Chaol were put through their paces. They were challenged and tested again and again and while it didn’t always work out how they hoped, they always came out on top. Seeing them both struggle and make mistakes and have to take the effort to fix them felt good. Not only that but the mistakes they made didn’t felt stupid. You genuinely felt that they thought they were making the best decision possible for themselves. They did it with logic and their conscious supporting their choice. Granted Celeana’s decision was so altruistic I saw it blowing up in her face from the start, but I did enjoy watching that process. Chaol on the other hand truly was placed into a damned if you do damned if you don’t situation and he did his best to cope with that. I really felt for him and he’s now being shoved into a new place that will certainly be no fun for him.
Now, I’ll briefly mention Dorian who was mostly on the periphery. I won’t pretend that I like Dorian. It isn’t that I dislike him. He’s a good guy and I want to see good things happen to him. However, he’s just on the right side of interesting and only barely. Which meant that if he hadn’t had such an interesting character arch with his new found ability, then I would have hated him for all of his jealousy. Now maybe this is partially because I am Team Chaol, but I just don’t love Dorian and I would prefer Celeana being with anyone but him.
If Celeana was a person in real life, I would probably idolize her for her skill, but still hate her. There is something about her personality that I just don’t like. Yet, she is so amazing and badass that I begrudgingly like and root for her.
I was really glad to see that the world opened up in this book. Granted it didn’t open up very much, but it was nice to get outside of the castle. I only wish that a more vivid depiction of the outside was there. Even thought we got out and about the descriptions and setting the vibe of the place just didn’t work for me. I enjoy getting enveloped in a world and the world feeling almost a character itself. That just doesn’t happen with this as much as I want it to.
So at the end of the day, I really enjoyed this book. Now more than ever, I want to read the next book. I want to delve further into what is going on. I want to see more badass events. I just want more.