- Page Count: 470
- Release Date: July 7, 2015
- My Rating: 5 stars
Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save Lia’s life, her erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar’s interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen.
Meanwhile, nothing is straightforward: There’s Rafe, who lied to Lia but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be savages. Now that she lives among them, however, she realizes that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country… and her own destiny.
Ok wow I am so glad I read this again before the final book. SO MANY FEELS.
I forgot how perfect the aesthetic of Venda is! The city, market, and catacombs were so freaking cool… again, the worldbuilding in this series is incredibly solid. The tone in this book was a little bit darker than the first one and the pacing was slower, but it totally worked. I liked that the story mostly stayed in Venda and was able to create such a strong culture and give you so much insight into Kaden’s life. And the Komizar was the perfect villain: someone who’s evil enough that you want them dead, yet also realistic and not some caricature. I loved the politics and everything with his men. And Lia grew into an even stronger character in this book!
I had zero problem with the love triangle in the first book because of the way it was executed, but I got pretty tired of Rafe’s existence here. I’m just not that into him. I suppose his presence helped the plot, but he still treats Lia a bit too much like some possession. Maybe it’s because we got such a strong look into Kaden’s backstory that Rafe’s character seemed kind of weak in comparison. And maybe Rafe was mostly hidden behind the role he had to play and will grow into less of a controlling Tamlin in the third book then. I mean, I don’t dislike him… I just could live without so much of his POV. And then more of Kaden? Yes.
But Page 457 is not messing around, man. Like all hell just breaks loose. I was distraught that an awesome character died but then a few paragraphs later Lia’s being an awesome badass… but then another favorite character’s getting hurt and aaahh SO MANY CONFLICTING FEELINGS. I just want everyone to be happy and alive at the end of the final book. Ok, but mostly Kaden. Can you tell who my favorite character is…