Stars: 5 out of 5
I am loving this series so far! The world is so unique and well-integrated. I mean, I can “see” something like that really evolving if supernaturals lived alongside us.
The first book introduced the world and our protagonist and had her solve a murder mystery involving one of her co-workers. This book goes a lot more personal. It dives deep into Vivia’s childhood, and I can tell you that’s stuff nightmares are made of. We finally discover where the hags came from, who her mother was, and why her sister had to die.
Since the story is more personal, it had more impact, at least on me, because I happen to like Vive as a protagonist. She tries really hard NOT to be like her mother. And seeing how Desma behaved with her daughters (and everyone else that wasn’t Desma for that matter), I can understand why. Had her family been fully human, child protective services would have taken the two girls away immediately and charged Desma with aggravated child abuse. But as it stands, nobody cares what happens to some supernatural kids. It’s a reminder of what often happens to children who aren’t part of the main demographic in our world right now, sadly.
I found Vive even more relatable in this book than in the first one. She is faced with impossible odds – trying to solve a decades old murder before her time runs out, and trying to undo the hex that is killing her sister… again. And to accomplish either of those things, she is forced to dig through her often painful past. Also, the revelation about the origins of the hags are rather heartbreaking. It’s horrible to discover that you were just a means to an end, that you were never loved by the person who created you.
And while I’m glad that this situation was resolved in a (sort of) happy ending, it seems to me that Vivia lost more than she gained in the end. She lost her mother, she all but lost her sister, and she lost her youth. Yes, she gained freedom, but that seems like a very high price to pay for that, especially since she was paying for the sins of her parents. Literally, as it turns out.
I will be interested to see where the series goes in its final book. Now that Vive finally paid all the karmic debts her family had accumulated over the millennia, I would like to see her build a life for herself that is not dependent on her mother’s teachings and abuse. I want to see her happy and accomplished in what she does.