*I received an ecopy of this book via NetGalley. This has not influenced my review.*
I was kind of undecided about continuing this series when I finished the first book since there were some things I didn’t like about it, but ultimately the things I did like won out, and I couldn’t help but give this one a try.
I have to admit, for the first half of the book or so, I did still have some issues. The way it was written made me feel kind of distanced from the protagonist and the story because it was kind of choppy and jumped from one moment to the next without much explanation sometimes. I was confused about exactly what was going on and how much time was passing. I also didn’t understand Maia’s reasons for some of the things she was doing, like why she didn’t tell the rebels the truth about what happened, that she wasn’t a traitor, or why she didn’t tell a certain person who she was.
I will say, however, that while the first book was kinda slow for a while, this one didn’t have that problem. It jumped right into the action and plot, picking up where the first left off. And then, as the story went on, things started to flow more smoothly, make more sense, and feel more natural. Things also got more intense, and I got more gripped.
My favorite thing in the first book was Riser, and he was still interesting—not quite as feral, but kind of smooth and observant and predatory. And I liked the chemistry between Maia and Riser, especially since *SPOILER* he didn’t know who she was, so it was kind of like they were starting over, and there was a bunch of tension. *END SPOILER*
As for Maia, the whole being another person thing threw me off in the first book, but this time she just seemed to be herself, so I found her easier to understand and connect with. And I liked her; she stayed focused on what was important, even when the decisions she had to make were tough ones.
There were also some great new characters, like Lash, who was friendly, playful, and so likeable. And Maia’s friendship with Lash and Teagan was something I really liked. I’m also looking forward to seeing more of Maia’s relationship with *SPOILER* Max (her brother) *SPOILER* as she gets to spend more time with him since it started out rocky in this book but then became sweet. They clearly care about each other.
But a warning for anyone reading this review who hasn’t read the first book yet, things in this series are very extreme, especially when it comes to violence and dangerous situations. So sometimes things get pretty gritty and graphic, and the author doesn’t shy away from putting her characters in worst case scenarios. Sometimes it’s a little over-the-top, but, well, either you can just accept that as part of the series or not.
So overall, I did end up enjoying this book. I liked some of the characters, the touching moments among them, and the intensity of the story as it went on. I think that at this point I am invested and want to see this series through to the end.
Fans of Book 1 in Audrey Grey's Shadow Fall series. YA dystopian fans who like interesting characters and violence with all the gruesome details.
More Books in the Series:
Terrorist. Rebel. Traitor.
One rash decision during the Shadow Trials led to unspeakable horrors that left innocents dead, friends injured and hunted by the Empire, and Maia Graystone imprisoned in the Tower at the Archduchess’s mercy.
Unsure if Riser Thornbrook survived, Maia must find a way to battle the Empire from within its own walls and escape so she can fulfill the promise to her father and stop the asteroid. But when she breaks free and joins Nicolai’s Rebel army, she discovers she’s been branded a traitor. With war between the Rebels and the Empire looming, old alliances shifting, and suspicion hanging over her head, she must fight in the Rebel Blood Courts—and win command—to regain their trust.
Only problem is, first she has defeat the reigning champion, someone she knows all too well. Will Maia’s emotions lead to her defeat, or will she rise up and claim her victory?