Thanks to netgalley for the e-arc! I’m kinda sad cuz this was almost a four star, but I’ll get into that in a bit.
The second book picks up right where the first left off. We follow Nadya as she struggles with the absence of her gods and Serefin as he deals with his new powers and tries to figure out what’s happening to him. First things first: this book is so much bloodier than the first (how is that possible?) and I was all on board. But I thought I’d be upfront about that because I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, especially since it’s borderline gory at points. I had no issues with seeing it, and thought it made the setting even grittier.
The world building and mythology is cracked open in this book, and I loved everything new we learned, especially about the “gods”. I had a feeling in the first book that something was fishy about them, and this book fully delivered on that front. The plot of this book deals heavily with these “gods” and I thought the direction was so cool! I also loved Serefin and where his story went. (I keep putting quotations around “gods” because I’m still not convinced that’s what they are. How Tranavian of me.) I thought his plotline was fascinating and was always itching to get back into Serefin’s perspective.
My main issue with this second book is the same issue I had with the first: the romance. I like my enemies-to-lovers to be sloooow burn, like I think a lot of us do. This one isn’t slow at all. And for a series with enemies-to-lovers romance, Nadya and Malachiasz sure do spend a lot of time kissing and pining. I just didn’t buy it, so Nadya’s chapters were hard for me to connect with or care about. Also, a lot of Nadya’s decisions annoyed me. We’re told multiple times that her power isn’t reliant on her “gods”, and that these “gods” have some shady motives of their own, but that doesn’t stop her from siding with them against Malachiasz. To be fair, Malachiasz isn’t exactly trustworthy either, but she doesn’t have to side with him either (or keep making out with him).
And then, there was the ending. All I’ll say is this: if you’re not going to kill your darlings, don’t kill your darlings. That’s fine. Just please, please, please stop faking us out. We all know they’re not really dead. I’ve seen this trope way too many times this year.