Author: Erika Johansen
Source: TLC Book Tours
Links: Amazon|Indiebound |Goodreads
Summary: Very much in the spirit of the first book. Similarly, it has unique, interesting but unfinished world building; well developed secondary characters; and difficult decisions for our protagonist.
“With each passing day, Kelsea Glynn is growing into her new responsibilities as Queen of the Tearling. By stopping the shipments of slaves to the neighboring kingdom of Mortmesne, she crossed the Red Queen, a brutal ruler whose power derives from dark magic, who is sending her fearsome army into the Tearling to take what is hers. And nothing can stop the invasion. But as the Mort army draws ever closer, Kelsea develops a mysterious connection to a time before the Crossing, and she finds herself relying on a strange and possibly dangerous ally: a woman named Lily, fighting for her life in a world where being female can feel like a crime. The fate of the Tearling —and that of Kelsea’s own soul—may rest with Lily and her story, but Kelsea may not have enough time to find out.” (Source)
I enjoyed the first book enough that I picked this up immediately afterwards and it did not disappoint! As in the first book, I was fascinated by the world building and couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next. Kelsea connection to Lily added a second, dystopian story to the book and I enjoyed both storylines equally well. I could see this second storyline not being what someone was looking for in a fantasy novel, but I enjoyed the uniqueness. The secondary characters continued to have interesting storylines and became even more developed in this sequel. The world building was also further developed, although again, I think I would have been left wanting had I not had the next book to pick up immediately,
One of the only elements of this book about which I had more mixed feelings was Kelsea herself. I didn’t find her character development or all of her decisions completely believable. Changes in her love interests and in her personality felt very abrupt to me. In some cases, I think magic was intended as the explanation for these abrupt shifts, but that didn’t make them ring true for me. However, I enjoyed the difficult decisions she had to make. I also think her romantic confusion may have been more realistic than the clear cut love stories you see so often in fiction. The balance between the romance and the rest of the story was well done as well – for me, meaning the romance didn’t take over the plot.
There was definitely no middle-book slump here and when I finished, I immediately read the third book as well, because I was enjoying the series so much. Having read this second book of the trilogy, I’d still highly recommend the series.