Stars: 2 out of 5.
I loved the first book in this duology so much that I rated it 5 stars. Needless to say, I had high hopes for the second book as well. Unfortunately, none of my hopes were realized, so this book left a bitter taste in my mouth and a sense that I had wasted several hours of my life. Now I realize that some of this might be subjective, and some of it might be higher than usual expectations, but I think the biggest issue for me is that the story didn’t go in the direction I expected it to go.
I expected a direct continuation of the events that happened at the end of Seraphina – a war with the dragons, and Seraphina, Krieggs and Celda in the middle of it, trying to protect the kingdom of Goredd from the scaly monsters who try to destroy them…
Instead we get this road movie where Phina travels to different places throughout the book, meeting new people that she will never talk to again once she leaves, in search of the other half-dragons she saw in her mind garden. It makes for a very disjointed and rather boring story, to tell you the truth. Gone is the sense of urgency we experienced at the end of last book. Yes, Seraphina has a deadline by which to reach her final destination, but it has nothing to do with the imminent war with the dragons. And honestly, the book drags until about three quarters of the way through when things finally pick up.
The issue here is that I, as a reader, don’t care about the new people Seraphina encounters, and the author doesn’t give me enough time to get to know them to actually care about them before the story moves towards another location, leaving them behind. And I am once again introduced to a whole different set of new characters who stay on the page just as fleetingly.
But I think my biggest problem is the villain in this story. Jannoula is so overpowered that it’s almost laughable at the end. Also, her powers are inconsistent. First, it’s mentioned that she can only control one person at a time, and even that tires her, but by the end of the book, she is suddenly able to control all the half-dragons and make her aura “glow” so that it’s visible to humans, and she can manipulate humans at her will. Not to mention that she always seems one step ahead of Seraphina, no matter what she does or what happens. And the way she is defeated at the end stinks of deus ex machina as well.
Finally, I really hated the ending. I think it wasn’t fair to the characters, especially to Seraphina. She spent all her life hiding and lying. She decided at the beginning of this book that she would not lie about herself anymore… yet she agrees to be the other woman? To live in shadow? To live a lie for the rest of her life? How is that a good ending for her? Not to mention that this paints Krieggs in a horrible way as well. He is a coward who just manipulated her into doing what he wants, not considering how that will impact her life.
Anyway, this was a huge disappointment, and I am kinda glad this was only a duology, because I would not have picked up another book in this series.