- Page Count: 496
- Release Date: March 29, 2016
- My Rating: 4.5 stars
War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it with untrustworthy new allies and the empire as his enemy. Though he has convinced himself that he no longer loves Kestrel, Arin hasn’t forgotten her, or how she became exactly the kind of person he has always despised. She cared more for the empire than she did for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she did for him.
At least, that’s what he thinks. In the frozen north, Kestrel is a prisoner in a brutal work camp. As she searches desperately for a way to escape, she wishes Arin could know what she sacrificed for him. She wishes she could make the empire pay for what they’ve done to her.
But no one gets what they want just by wishing. As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover that the world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and they are caught in between. With so much to lose, can anybody really win?
MINOR SPOILER ALERTS.
So I did really like this book, but not nearly as much as I thought I would. The first bit with Kestrel in the work camps and Arin saving her was PERFECT, but then it turned into some soap opera of drawn out angst and even more missed communications, which just got old.. Kestrel’s amnesia started to felt like a plot device to keep her separated from Arin even longer. All of the confusion and tension that had built up so well in the previous two books just fizzled out here in what felt more like some side comment. Like if I had to suffer through all of that torture and waiting, I want something MORE.
In the end, this book was less about the romance and more about Kestrel and Arin fighting their individual pasts in order to create a new future.
And if the romance wasn’t going to be the focus of the story, then the war should’ve been better. Instead of showing other soldiers (because there’s no way three teens are the only leaders here) or even giving a name/face to any other character in the army, the focus is on Arin & Kestrel’s drama of what isn’t happening with them… just give me something somewhere pleeeeease. But the fact that I’m this emotionally invested definitely speaks for how awesome this series is.
The character development in this book is amazing, though! We get to see more of Arin’s thoughts and he becomes such an incredible, complex character. I loved how Arin & Kestrel both grew as individuals, but would have liked to see something more in line with where the first 2 books were heading… a focus on an actual war or their relationship coming together. Not half of each.
BUT I still enjoyed this book overall (especially the first half) and completely recommend this series if you like YA fantasy!!