This is my review for the second book in the Rae Carson trilogy and the second book of 2019 family book club. Obviously because this is a sequel it’s impossible to review this book without spoilers. What you need to know is that this book builds upon the incredible world building of the first book expanding it physically and in detail. Carson has a gift for romance, the incredible pull of characters towards each other is enticing. This whole book is rising action to the climax of book three. Five STARS!
Elisa and Rosario’s relationship is so sweet. She really does love her adopted son, even when her main actions take her away from him. Her whole found family and kingdom and earning their love/respect is such an endearing story line for the first half of the book. “Their eyes glow with pride. I hope they take this back to the barracks, the sure knowledge that their queen would die for them.” -52 The gift exchange scene where Elisa is given her crown is so beautiful and tear-jerking.
Flaw: The mystery of political intrigue was not so subtle. It was pretty easy to figure out. The Generals were pretty openly trying to control the direction of the government. For some really smart characters I was surprised they were surprised.
The world building was excellent. The addition of Storm to our cast really answers a lot of questions about the Irvienos and the magic system in this world. I don’t remember if they actually ever figure out why only some of Elisa’s people have Godstones versus several of the Irviene children but they always fall out. I also liked the practical queendom like taxes. It was also nice to have gay people in a fantasy world.
Ximena. Ohhhhh! I was so surprised/impressed that Elisa stood up to her in this book. Ximena definitely becomes more forceful or at least obvious on implementing her will towards Elisa’s life and what she thought was “appropriate” for the bearer. Her attempts to force Hector away from Elisa was really the straw that broke any redeemable attempts.
HECTOR! “I love you like a drowning man loves air. And it would destroy me to have you just a little”-357 What an iconic, bar-raising, slow-burn romance. I love their deep affection for each other and the way we got to watch it turn into passionate love. It was the highlight of the book. “Sometimes the look you two share could melt sand.”-312 Well consider me sand.
Super into this book. 10/10 would recommend with no regrets.