Review to come. But damn the instalove kills in all the worst ways.
I have a very complicated relationship with this series. It is extremely complicated. Some of the things I really enjoyed in the last book were lost in this book. Some of the things I disliked in the last book were fixed in this book. And there were still some annoying things that carried over from the last book. Overall, I think that this was an improvement from the last book. While I want to read the next book, I find myself not really caring too much about what will come next. I’m curious, but I don’t really care either way.
Let’s start with the main element that I felt we lost from the last book and that was the plotting. With so many separate plot lines and povs the last book did a great job of progressing them and also weaving them together. You could feel how intricately plotted that first book was. This book lost much of that. The plot lines just didn’t develop that beautiful melding that we saw in the last book. Instead things were just happening and each story line, though occasionally intersecting, felt largely separate. Maybe I was spoiled by the first book in the series that likely had more time to develop and make those connections feel more meaningful. The overall plot in this just felt much smaller and inconsequential as a result. The events changed things for the character, but not so much for the world.
On a more positive note, there was a definite improvement in the writing. The language flowed better. There were less times that I noticed stumbling over awkward phrasing. The way that characters were written felt better evolved. Various methods that were used previous were avoided (I’m looking at you secret keeping). As a result, it wasn’t often that the actual writing came to my attention which is on the better side of things. Of course it is wonderful when great writing stands out as wonderful, but the next best thing is writing that becomes invisible and simply facilitates the story.
Unfortunately, that did not mean that all things were perfect. Insta-love was still a problem in this book. In fact, it was even more a problem than it was in the previous book because it occurred more frequently. There were actually so many characters instantly falling in love with characters, or falling in love with a character over a short period of time that we didn’t get to see. The result was irritating and made the relationships feel unearned. Considering she dedicates so much time to a few relationships, it’s a shame that corners are cut on some of the romantic relationships. If these insta-love moments did anything it was confirm that I still hate insta-love.
Prologues are such a dividing element in stories. I hear that some people don’t even read them. They skip over them and maybe go back to them later if at all. I’m not one of those people. However, over time I’ve come to appreciate a good prologue and realize that some prologues are not good. Other prologues, like this one are not prologues. What we received as a prologue should have been labeled as chapter one. However since it was a character that had not yet been introduced it was not. I see no other reason why this was not chapter one. If one skipped over this chapter you would losing gaping information and character background about Lysandra. In fact, you lose much of her character development because what we learn of her through the novel is not much. Did I mention that I’m not a fan of Lysandra who felt dull and uninteresting?
Jonas remains to be my favorite character. His arc is extremely interesting as he is learning how to be a leader. It isn’t as easy as he might have thought and he’s struggling with making progress and making decisions that he thinks will help. I really enjoyed his journey as he stumbled along and is progressively getting better. It’s also really easy to relate to him out of all of the characters.
Lucia went from a character that I found compelling and on the brink of a great story arc to someone who was petty and irritating. I mean her state through a large chunk of the book didn’t help things out, but nothing from her felt interesting. She no longer felt like the strong character she was first established as, which is a shame.
I’m now two books in and I don’t understand the love for Magnus. I just don’t. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate him. He’s kind of interesting. He’s an odd character to me. He is a good guy that is trying to be bad. As a result, he will occasionally do something that is nasty, but for the most part he tries to help people. Sure he may not realize that he’s not the big baddie that he thinks he is, but it doesn’t change the fact he’s not bad. He just isn’t. The fact that he wants power does not make him bad. The fact that he is willing to make others uncomfortable so he can potentially succeed makes him selfish, but not bad. The fact that he tries to spare people anguish, saves peoples lives, and lives by a pretty standard non-warped sense of justice actually puts him more on the good side.
Finally, I will speak of Cleo oh glorious Cleo. She has really transformed since we first met her. This book didn’t give her as dramatic an arc as we did in the last book. However what was interesting is that Cleo has finally decided that she’s going to fight. Her way of fighting what is going on is to play the game. I enjoy watching her play the game quite a bit. She’s probably my second favorite character.
Ultimately, I liked it more than the last, but it still have problems.