I had high expectations going into this book as I adored Truthwitch so much, and I can happily say that I wasn’t disappointed. There were aspects that lacked in some ways and I do think that I preferred Truthwitch as a whole, but I still loved this book and highly recommend this series to anyone looking for an enjoyable, original story with awesome characters and twists.
Summary: This picks up right after the end of Truthwitch (although there was something huge that took place ‘off screen’), and follows Safi and Iseult on their separate paths. We have perspective chapters from both girls, along with Aeduan, Merik, and a fresh perspective from Merik’s sister Vivia. Safi travels with Marstoki Empress Vaness on their way to Azmir, and they must fight obstacles from various different empires. Iseult forms a shaky alliance with the bloodwitch Aeduan as she tries to find Safi. Merik, plagued by anger and a need for justice, searches for a way to save Nubrevna and find his sister guilty of attempted murder. Vivia fights for her crown and her people against threats both obvious and new.
Writing: My thoughts on the writing remains the same from the first book. I still found it compelling and enjoyable and I enjoyed the way in which the world was built through the words. It is not a novel that I would pick quotes out of but for me that didn’t detract from the ease at which the novel flowed, and the enjoyment I got out of the writing style.
Plot: The plot in this was a lot slower than in Truthwitch, especially in the beginning half of the book and at times I felt less engaged. I mainly felt this in Merik & Vivia’s chapters as for the most part they were fighting for the same goal, in the same setting, but neither of them progressed very far toward what they were trying to achieve. It was realistic in that sense but I found my mind wandering more in these chapters. But then there’s the whole MERIK BEING DEAD part that really throws me. How is that going to work? I really hope that Ryber & Cam can somehow find a way to extract the creepy shadowy death from inside him, and perhaps find a way to save Kullen as well? That would be absolutely amazing as I will not be happy if Merik ends up properly dying. The man is a burnt shadowy mess, he can’t cease to exist as well, that’s just too unfair. But back on track; my favourite chapters were those involving Aeduan as Iseult as I loved their interactions and banter and found their journey to more exciting, even if they too, did not seem to geographically progress very far. Also Aeduan being all protective of Owl? That was super sweet and I am excited to learn more about Owl herself, and I really hope that Aeduan sticks around so him, Iseult, and Owl can embark on a family road trip in search of Safi. Safi’s plot was more exciting as well and I really enjoyed the direction in which her story progressed – the Hell-Bards were fun and I am now very intrigued by their story! The ending definitely made me excited for the next book as some really solid foundations were laid in this book and I can see the pace picking up in the next instalment!
Characters: I enjoyed the characters themselves just as much in this book but I was disappointed by the fact that some of my favourites pairings didn’t get a chance to actually interact with each other. I adored Iseult & Safi’s friendship in Truthwitch, and although that is obviously still very present, I missed them actually being in the same scenes together. In saying that, it was interesting to see how they survived individually, but I would have liked them to reunite at some point. I also missed Safi & Merik and it made me so sad that they both believe each other to be dead!! AH especially after all those cute arguing scenes in Truthwitch, I was really bummed that they didn’t get a chance to interact in this. I am very impatiently waiting for an epic reunion in the next book. My disappointment was lessened slightly by how much I enjoyed Aeduan & Iseult’s banter! They are excellent, and I loved getting to know Aeduan on a deeper level, and that even finding out the softer things about him didn’t make the harder aspects any less believable. I find that sometimes when an author tries to reveal a softer side to a ‘darker’ character, it tends to make it less believable that they would have acted so harshly initially, but Aeduan balances nicely. Vivia was an interesting addition in this book and I liked that we were given a deeper understanding of her and not just Merik’s biased view – it added a complexity to both characters and I am looking forward to seeing them get to know each other more in the later books. I also really grew to like Caden and as long as no romantic attachment is formed between him & Safi (Merik is bby & I HATE love triangles) then I am happy for him to stick around and play a bigger part!
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I found it to be a good sequel to Truthwitch. The plot itself didn’t feel as though it moved too far forward but I enjoyed the growth of the characters and the little bits nonetheless. I adore these characters so much!!