Let me say this, I was quite worried when I found out that a big chunk of the novel was going to be spent somewhere other than the Tearling Kingdom. I was very much against taking the focus away from Kelsea and how being queen was effecting her. I was shocked by how quickly I found myself invested in Lily. I felt for her. She made me feel sick with worry, and I felt like I was connecting with her as Kelsea was. I started to invest a lot in her, and I was fulfilling when I felt like I got the full picture of Lily's experience. I felt like I got her complete story, which was nice after receiving the whopper of a cliff hanger. Don't worry! No spoilers!
There was great character development for Kelsea. She not just our righteous hero anymore. She making decisions that come to bite her in the butt. But it's not just her decisions, her inner self has changed immensely. A darkness has arose with her, and she does some really gory stuff. I won't go into specific details because that is spoiler territory, but let's just say that this isn't the same girl from the cottage, though she will tell you otherwise.
Another character that caught my eye that really didn't make an impact on me in the first novel was Father Tyler. I think that I connect with him in that he loves books and hates confrontation. He goes out of his way to avoid it, but he also stands up when he needs to I started to empathize with him in this novel much more than I did with the first book.
I really enjoyed the pace of this novel. There was a good mix of speedy and slow moments, moments where you just had to put the book down to think about what just happened, and moments where you have to keep reading to find out what happens next. It kept my attention, and it made me want to go and tell my mom about it. And I say that because she's physically the closest person to me who would know what I was talking about. To simply put it: this book is addicting.
I've heard a few book reviewers say that this book goes right over the hump that sequel books sometimes fall into, and I have to agree. This book impacted me as much if not more than the first book. And for that reason and more, I'm giving this novel five fireplaces out of five.
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