*I received an ecopy of this book from the author. This has not influenced my review.*
This book was so good. I loved it. So I’m just gonna jump right into all the things I loved about it!
I loved Clio. She was focused on their goal and smart and always trying to figure out what to do. She understood that they were in a life-or-death situation and therefore she would have to be ok with things she might not be ok with otherwise. But she was still that relatable, somewhat awkward, fumbling-through-situations girl. Like, I seriously would not have known what to do or say in the situations she was in (like how to barter with someone to be their guide to the Overworld), so it was realistic that she didn’t either. Also she flirted with someone by telling him he was a skilled botanist, which was just too funny, and it actually worked lol. But she was also badass when she needed to be.
Of course I loved Lyre too. I’m still so happy we get to have his POV in this series. I loved learning more and him and his past, and that sharp edge to him that Clio constantly mentions definitely feels present in his POV, and I totally understand why now. I felt terrible for him and felt his helplessness in the situation he was in. But he was still his super intelligent, skilled, smooth, able-to-think-on-his-feet self, despite all that.
I even loved Ash! I mean, I already loved him too, but seeing him through different eyes, seeing sides of him Piper never saw, was interesting.
Also, the magic in this series is incredible. The arrows, the weaves, the caste abilities, all of it. Annette Marie has the best descriptions of magic and whole magic system that I’ve ever read. I don’t even normally like fight scenes, but love them in these books because the magic is just so amazing. And seeing Lyre and Ash fight each other was something else entirely.
I think is also my favorite version of incubi that I’ve ever read. Incubi magic is all about sex, so it seems like they would be weak and not very formidable, but they do have power, and that power is scary. Also, we finally got to see how it was that Ash learned he wasn’t immune to incubus magic; I gotta say, it wasn’t the hilarious, sexy moment I thought it would be, but I’m glad to have finally learned that story.
We even got to learn a bit about a new caste this time! And to see a bit more of some castes I was already familiar with, but from a different perspective, i.e. as an enemy rather than an ally. And boy, are they formidable when they’re not on your side.
This book also had more action and a faster pace than the last one! I know I need to stop comparing this to Steel & Stone since they’re different series despite having some of the same characters, but this one felt much more like that series than The Night Realm did. It had the same great level of action and plot and kind of just one bad thing happening after another but in a really organic way that kept me gripped. The only complaint I have is that a couple characters made some questionably bad decisions near the end, but with everything else in the book being so good, I wasn’t too bothered.
This book was also less focused on romance than the previous one, it seemed, but the romance was definitely still there. When Clio explained about the plant, I swear I teared up <3 <3 <3
The writing was also great, although I’m not sure what age range to put this in. I don’t know how old the characters are, but this doesn’t quite feel like adult. It’s a little too mature to just be called YA though. I’d say either upper YA or NA.
Ok, I think I’ve gushed enough. Overall, this book had great characters, incredible magic, lots of action, and I read it in two days because I didn’t want to put it down!
Fans of Book 1 in Annette Marie's Spell Weaver series. Anyone who likes new adult urban fantasy, incubi, romance, action, and lots of magic.