I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Author: Emily Duncan
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Dark Fantasy/Horror
Darkness never works alone…
Nadya doesn’t trust her magic anymore. Serefin is fighting off a voice in his head that doesn’t belong to him. Malachiasz is at war with who–and what–he’s become.
As their group is continually torn apart, the girl, the prince, and the monster find their fates irrevocably intertwined. They’re pieces on a board, being orchestrated by someone… or something. The voices that Serefin hears in the darkness, the ones that Nadya believes are her gods, the ones that Malachiasz is desperate to meet—those voices want a stake in the world, and they refuse to stay quiet any longer.
Nadya and the two boys return in this sequel, but nothing is easy. They are all forced far out of their comfort zones on individual quests that may or may not intersect with each other. On top of that the gods may be interfering…if there is such a thing as gods.
Second books are often duds for me. I find that they have trouble bridging gaps between book one and book three. I was scared with this book that would be the case. The stakes for the first book were ridiculously high. And going into the second I wondered if that would still be the case. Would it keep me interested or would I flame out part way through? My biggest fear was that – I had grown to love some of these characters and I worried that in this book I wouldn’t like them anymore. I was worried for absolutely nothing.
If you liked Wicked Saints, if you liked the characters (even just some of them) then you are going to love this book. This book goes more and more depth into religion and heresy and action and relationships, and it is all bound together in a supremely well-paced story. The same themes from the first book come back in this one, except in some cases this book feels just a tad darker than the first. It does have some horror elements (eye related stuff which I had to skim because ICK) and yet it feels as if the book was just as concerned with developing these characters.
Plot wise I enjoyed it. It was deftly paced, as in, it isn’t just action, there is a lot of introspection and a lot of thinking going on, so it is slow in that respect, but it is still interesting. I really don’t want to give too much away about the plot – suffice to say that Nadya, Serefin, and Malachiasz are dealing with a lot of things at the moment. A LOT. Nadya is on her own journey and Serefin and Malachiasz are as well, and somehow they all keep coming back together. The gods are not happy is an understatement in this book.
Serefin was my favorite character before and he remains my favorite in this book. He has his own delightful relationship arc, and I was so very happy with the way that it went. I will be so very glad to see more of it in the next book. His friends too, get a bit of their own little arcs as well, and more information about them is given to us throughout the book.
And of course, we have Nadya and Malachiasz. One of the more intriguing relationships I’ve read about. Nadya constantly talks about how it is based on betrayal, and it is. Very much so. If you like will-they-won’t-they this relationship has it all. Also, lots of blood, anger, angst, pining and unresolved emotions. I cannot keep up with those two at all.
We also get introduced to a new character in this book, and they help us with a balance in this odd group of theirs. There is a little section talking about some of the minor characters and their country as well. It felt a tiny bit out of place, but I do wonder if something is going to happen with it in the next book.
The plot and the writing and the events are all so twisted and confusing and good. This was a confusing book at times, and it wasn’t in a bad way. I felt that the confusion lent to the atmosphere of the book. Not only that you want to scream at the characters not to do the stupid thing they’re thinking of doing. Suffice to say I got really attached to the characters again. I dread to think of what Duncan is going to put them through next.
And of course, I loved the writing. I think it was well written and overall, I enjoyed it. I couldn’t put it down for one minute.