Stars: 3.5 out of 5.
I liked this one slightly less than the first book. While the story was still engaging, and I was still invested in the characters, I think I grew tired with this author’s writing style.
Yes, it is nice to be privy to the characters’ inner monolog and understand their fears, hopes, and self-doubts. But this book is the case of when too much is too much. This constant inner monolog interferes with the story.
Let’s take the scene in the ruins, for example. There are horrible things happening there. Our characters are literally fighting for their lives against an enemy they had never encountered before, but that particular situation takes up 25% of the book. Why? Because the action is constantly interrupted by Iari’s doubting her choices and actions, worrying about Gaer and Corso, swearing, freezing up, working through making a decision in her head before she does it… And then we switch POVs and get the same stuff with Gear or Corso.
This kills the momentum of the story. This encounter must have taken less than an hour story time, yet we spent a quarter of the book reading about it. Because of this constant interruptions, the impact of this battle is lessened, in my opinion. I should be horrified by the One-Eyes and the massacre our team discovers in the ruins. I should be scared for their safety. I should mourn the death of one of the characters. Instead, I experienced a mild irritation that the scenes were dragging with no resolution in sight.
Unfortunately, this flaw persisted throughout the rest of the book, so it felt like the story was dragging its feet and took forever, even though everything happened in a matter of days. I think the book would have benefited from a good editor who would have advised the author to cut some of the inner monolog out and tighten up the action… and ditch about 200 pages. We would still have gotten the interaction with the characters we grew to love in book 1, but a tighter pace would have created a bigger impact from all the bad and good things that happen in this book.
That being said, I am still invested in this world and characters. Some of the things revealed at the end of this book raise a lot more questions and make me eager to explore this world further. I will definitely pick up the next book in the series, but I hope the author tightens up their writing a little.
PS: I received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.