By: Cait Marie
Karina lost everything after a violent coup left her without her kingdom or her throne. Now the most wanted person in Sonande, her only hope of reclaiming what is rightfully hers lies in a divine power hidden in the long-lost city of her ancestors.
Meanwhile, the resurrection of Karina’s sister has spiraled the world into chaos, with disaster after disaster threatening the hard-won peace Malik has found as Farid’s apprentice. When they discover that Karina herself is the key to restoring balance, Malik must use his magic to lure her back to their side. But how do you regain the trust of someone you once tried to kill?
As the fabric holding Sonande together begins to tear, Malik and Karina once again find themselves torn between their duties and their desires. And when the fate of everything hangs on a single, horrifying choice, they each must decide what they value most—a power that could transform the world, or a love that could transform their lives.
In case you missed it, I read the first book last year and absolutely loved it. It was one of my favorites of 2020, and it ended in a cliffhanger. So, I’ve been anxiously waiting this second book.
I’m going to be honest, I had mixed feelings about it for a while in the middle… HOWEVER, I really think it was more of a me problem. I think I was in a reading slump. Because this book was amazing.
This sequel is non-stop action. Despite my personal struggle to read, it was hard to put down. There was so much going on and so much at risk that I needed to keep going.
I really love the characters in this story. Karina and Malik have both grown so much since the beginning of this duology, and they continued to do so in this second book.
Slight spoiler, but they don’t spend much time together in this one, and I think that was another thing that added to having a hard time getting into it. They spend most of the book apart, and I kept waiting for them to reunite. That’s a personal preference though. I completely understand why they were separated; it made sense for the story. I’m just selfish and wanted more of them.
The world building in this duology is phenomenal. There’s so much history interwoven. It was great seeing how everything tied together. That ending… I teared up throughout like the entire last 20% of the book. It was so perfect. I did wish for just a little more in the very end though. There was closure on everything, but a couple tiny things felt like they should’ve had a little more attention. There were two specific things that were a huge deal, but each were only a couple sentences to finish them up. It’s hard to explain without spoilers. And it doesn’t lessen my love for the book as a whole; it just felt like it was a bit rushed.
The mental health representation was something I specifically appreciated. Severe anxiety isn’t usually shown in fantasy like this. As someone who’s had a lot of the same struggles and coping mechanisms as Malik, this helped me really connect with him. It was emotional and powerful, and it was handled in such a good way, in my opinion.
I highly, highly recommend these books. The storytelling and buildup are wonderful. I love the characters so much. It’s a wonderful story about finding oneself and fighting for yourself, your loved ones, and what’s right, even when it’s difficult.
CW/TW for the book: Severe anxiety, self-harm, thoughts of suicide, mention of parental death, manipulation that led to implied sexual acts in the past, and mention of abandonment.