This is not the sequel I wanted. But it is well paced and well written. Hi, it’s Willow and I have FEELINGS.
I’m disappointed that Harper wasn’t in this, like, at all. I genuinely thought book 1 was leading us to Grey/Harper, given how reluctant Harper was to express any romantic interest in Rhen. It’s like her story totally tailed off for this and, rather than an emotionally complicated romance, it’s gone for the easy option of a whole new girl.
Don’t get me wrong. I do like Lia Mara. But I honestly thought she was going to be the true spark that Rhen needed, given she’s a real princess and Harper is not. Unfortunately, the whole conflict of this plot is based on Grey choosing not to believe he could have confided in Rhen, which…seems odd, given all the actual shit they’ve been through together.
This feels like the hot potato got dropped. Somehow, the stakes felt higher in book 1. That’s not even true, but the odds were totally against them compared to this book. It’s interesting to me that the greatest turmoil comes between Grey and Rhen having to betray each other, whereas I really thought it was going to be restructuring the love triangle. I’m just really sad it wasn’t about that.
The politics are interesting. Lia Mara is nice. I like Nolla Verin. It’s great that Jacob and Noah are very involved. Tycho is a cinnamon roll. Iisak is well cool I LOVE him. I just didn’t dig the central romance that this plot hinged upon. Even Lia Mara makes two references to Harper/Grey being OBVIOUS. So I just? Don’t understand? Harper is so cool and she gave up so much to help these people when she had nothing to gain. I like her and I miss her and I’m annoyed my heart was toyed with.
I liked the epilogue the most, and I really did enjoy the introduction of Tycho and Iisak. I hope my expectations will be turned on their head yet again. I have book three, so I’m intrigued. I’m simply sad.
My heart is the fierce and broken one. Watch me die on my Grey/Harper hill.
SPOILER WARNING BELOW ⚠️
Lauren here… Has Willow lost her marbles? Yes, yes she has. DISAPPOINTED? Bah-gah-pah?
Listen, as far as I’m concerned, Prince Rhen and Harper are old news, never liked them anyway (except I did). Move along there please, make way for Grey, world’s new sexiest man, heir to the throne of Emberfall, possessor of magic and all-round righteous dude.
As far as I’m also concerned, Prince Rhen can DO ONE after his reprehensible behaviour early on in the book. Willow, are we doing spoilers? I’m going to say a spoiler. Rhen had Tycho WHIPPED! What an absolute wally. Never coming back from that one, is he? And shame on Harper for staying with him, if you ask me. Grey deserves BETTER. Like, what about that nice girl Lia Mara? She’ll do.
In all seriousness, one of the great things about this book is the three-dimensional, flawed characters. As I was busy gassing off to Willow about what a terrible person Nolla Verin is, she reminded me that people in real life are flawed too and said that I might change my mind when I learn more about her. Pfft, I thought. Change my mind? Never. She is awfu- oh, OK, she is actually quite nice, okay-I-really-like-her-now.
On that note, Prince Rhen might maybe, possibly, unlikely but perhaps, redeem himself in book three and I’ll be back on the Prince Rhen and Harper band wagon. Who knows? That’s what I’m loving. There was definitely something fishy going on between Grey and Harper so, I must admit, I’m confused as well that it didn’t BLOOM as expected. Looking forward to seeing if that comes to anything.
As much as I enjoyed the first book I actually enjoyed this one more – Gladiator-esc scenes, Grey learning to use his magic, Lia Mara and her absolutely BONKERS mother, lisak, Tycho… and oh ma GAD – the ending. Can’t wait to read book three!