I rated this sequel in Adrienne Young’s duology a 4/5 stars. This epic fantasy was all about different sides fighting in a war. The romance was minimal. I liked that there were two points of view but since they had such little interaction, I’m not sure if it was necessary. The dual POV was more of a benefit for the war strategies than their connection.
Here are my thoughts while reading:
In the prologue there’s way too many names being dropped like bombs:
I’ve stopped reading for less names than this but because the prose are atmospherically beautiful I’ll soldier on for now.
I’m glad chapter one gave me more excitement of what to look forward to. I love that Tova isn’t welcomed and is actually feared by those in the village. Yet they need her powers. I’m unsure how exactly she’s related to the Fare Spinners, what she knows of her past family, if they know she’s alive, if she ever wanted to return, if she’s a prisoner here or stays voluntarily, or if she lies about her visions with the stones message or not.
Sometimes the sentences were too burdensome. For instance, there’s too much going on in this sentence: “Her black hair fell over her face like a veil as her bare feet hit the cold stone floor and she stood in weak legs.” It’s a lot of work for the reader to correctly grasp onto six nouns that are all being described in detail.
I’m so glad Harvard has a point of view too. In the first book, he was a little boy, unsure of his exact age, but probably around 7, making him about 17 now. I’ve never read a series where the sequel is a child grown up.
I’m not a big fan of omens and fate and people “deserving” punishment or rewards by the spirits/gods for their actions. The concept feels staggering in general like if something good happens, thank the gods, if something bad happens, sacrifice to the gods. This idea takes away so much ownership for their choices. The author is making it clear that the dates are ever changing, like a spiders web, able to alter directions and go down a different path, which I think is good so the future isn’t already determined. But this inconsistency and uncertainty also makes them feel like pawns in a bigger game and gives the characters less agency.
In chapter 7 I’m wishing time didn’t go backwards for the other’s point of view. It throws me off track when we rewind 5-10 minutes.
In chapter 9 I’m wishing there was a bit more to their agenda than war. I’m not a giant fan of battle and politics only.
I may be awful saying this but I’m guessing this is one of the authors first books written. She uses the word “as” in almost every other sentence.
At page 95 I’m getting more excited that things are going towards where I want.
Page 114 brings us back in time again. I’m not sure if I like the 10 years ago and 7 years ago then 10 years ago. It’s hopping around too much.
At the halfway point I’m a little tired of the monotonous violence and slaughter. Like, what’s the point? Tova is just being dragged away. If their only goal is surviving the enemies attacks it doesn’t give them any agency other than defending themselves. I think the two main characters are about to meet in the next chapter which is a bit long to wait until the halfway point to get there.
How does a yew tree symbol connect Tova and Halvard? When and how will she find out the truth about her past? Will Jorrund betray her? Why does she still listen to his demands if she’s stronger?
Page 224 is a big turning point for Tova!
I loved that women were warriors in battle without being mentioned that they were women or lessers. They had the same skills and respect as the men while fighting. The climatic scene was a bit distracting moving back and forth between Tova and Halvard’s point of view. It felt a bit like Lord of the Rings style fighting but I wish there was more of a message or purpose for their fighting. I’m happy with the last page but overall the book felt a bit depressing. I feel that the author has beautiful scenery-based prose but I didn’t fully connect with the story line. I’m glad Eelyn made a reappearance. Halvard’s character was great since it showed the you f male being unsure instead of cocky so he was very likeable but still didn’t feel realistic that they would’ve chosen him as their leader. Because he was so young in the first book I kept picturing him as just a child the whole time. It was a bit weird to think of him as an adult man. Overall I’d recommend this more for male readers than female which is new to me. The romance focus was very low and there was a lot of (mindless) fighting.