I loved this sequel and gave it a 4.4/5 stars. When it comes to characters, unique magic, world building, and relationships it was perfect. I scraped a few points off the total score because of its length, slow pace in middle and 5 POV head hopped within chapters. Overall, I absolutely love this group of people together and what they needed to overcome. Highly recommend if you want a story to settle into.
Here’s my live thoughts while reading:
The prologue seemed to be about the spirits in a different realm. I’ll need a quick refresher of what happened in the first book. The bard is important obviously and there’s two kingdoms I believe. Now this king of spirits has demanded that they curse the crops to punish the bard.
Alrighty, the first chapter was super long and so much happened but in some miraculous way, Ross weaves the details together beautifully. I’m barely confused at all and recall a lot from the first book now. Torin is married to Sidra, the healer, and they have a daughter Maisie, who was taken in the first book but is now home safe.
The points of view jumped around mid chapter but the prose were so poetic that I didn’t mind much.
Sidra finds a teen boy drowned and can’t heal him. What’s baffling is the way his leg looked poisoned, matching the description of the ruined crops where this boy used to work.
The people need to figure out how to please the spirits again before the problem spreads.
So I think there will be 4 total POVs. We got to see a glimpse of Adaira (who I saw as the main character) living with her birth parents again. She has started to understand how bad off the people are in these parts. She misses Jack, her husband, left back in the East and hasn’t been totally upfront about everything in her letters to him. Adaira can’t trust her mother yet, but has been told by her to start slowing building immunity to poison by driving herself so no nobles will kill her.
Wait. Frae also has a POV. bBut at first I forgot who she is because there’s so many characters.
The setting is so atmospheric that the story reads at a slower pace. I’m intrigued but need a little more excited anticipation.
Uh oh. The blight is spreading. And fire won’t light!
Ahh. Will Jack be the key to unite the two rivals and form an isle of strength against the wind god?
So… hopefully no spoilers, but things are starting to get more exciting in the second section of the book. Someone may or may not have traveled into a spirit realm. Someone may or may not be pregnant. A new leader might be forced to take the reins.
In chapter 21, each side story is getting complex and there’s a lot to keep track of so it seems like I forget what plot is happening to one character by the time I return to their point of view.
Oh man, the first time I’m on the edge of my seat while reading this book is when Jack and the Oathbreaker…. ah I can’t say.
At the halfway, the momentum is starting to pick up and at least two of the characters’ stories have finally merged.
After Part Two is complete, I’m much more invested now in the fates of all the characters. Will Sidra survive? Will Torin solve the riddle? Will Jack ever play music again?
I wish I cared more bout this riddle…
“… She let them all go because he was her home, her shelter. Her endless fire, burning through the dark.”
Chapter 34 was unexpected but I’m happy!
So at the end of Part 3 I’m eager to see how it all ends. There’s still over 100 pages but I need to know so many answers! It’s awesome how well Rebecca Ross makes me care about them and their relationships with more literary prose and not through the common commercial way. This feels like it could be a novel read and interpreted in a high school literature class which isn’t typical of the other fantasy books I choose.
I flew through the last section. It’s crazy that this isn’t the action packed sort of book with a giant climax yet I was still on the edge of my west. No spoilers but I’m very happy with how it all turned out.