Genre: YA Fantasy
Series: An Ember in the Ashes #2
Disclaimer: This review (and the actual book) will contain spoilers for the first book of the series.
When it comes to sequels, I’ve learnt to be wary. So often, especially with trilogies, the first book is really good but then the Second Book Syndrome (aka SBS) hits and you’re disappointed. After that, the third book is hit with Unsatisfying Conclusion Syndrome (UCS, which does notmean Unconditioned Stimulus) and you end up wishing that the series had been a standalone.
Thankfully, the above paragraph has nothing to do with this book. You read it for no reason. This sequel is actually really good and I’m very happy with it.
In the beginning we’re right where we left at the end of book 1. Laia and Elias have run from the Empire and as Elias is a wanted criminal, they’re being chased. Helene has sworn fealty to Marcus (the prick) after he became the Emperor. And the commandant is her usual evil genius, psycho-bitch self.
The book started off with a bang and continued that way for most of the duration. It had me on the edge of my seat. I could barely breathe through how worried I was.
The pacing was perfect, I loved all three of the perspectives. The characters were very well-developed and the changes I saw in them made me very happy. The story was great and solid, and I was completely hooked. No sign of SBS anywhere.
I had one problem. And that was with Laia. For the first half, I was happy with her. But them her Darin-obsessed behaviour started to bother me (meaning it was fucking annoying). So many times it seemed as if the whole world could burn down and she wouldn’t care as long as Darin was okay. And then there was her relationship with Keenan (who I did not like) that made her look like a whimpering little girl. I know she’s still changing, but I wanted more for her. It was a little disappointing.
But other than that, the book was so good. There were many times when my reaction was “Oh fuck” because of something I didn’t see coming. I absolutely adored both Elias and Helene and I’m itching to know how their stories will play out.
One thing I found very refreshing was that the author didn’t try to put unnecessary tension into the book. There were many moments where one or the other character could have been secretive or excessively angsty, and weren’t (except Laia). It was so great to see characters being rational.
Overall, this book a great sequel to great book and I’m super excited for the next installment of the series.