Author: Elly Blake
Genre: YA fantasy
Publisher: Little, Brown
Year of Publication: 2017
Main Character: Ruby—3/5. Ruby could have been a good heroine, but she was so plagued by self-doubt and her own demons that she made for a poor narrator.
Secondary Characters: Kai was probably my favorite character, but I felt like he was always putting up a front. Nonetheless, his wit and surprising depth were the only things that induced me to finish this book. Arcus was a shadow of himself, only rarely becoming the outspoken, upstanding man from Frostblood. The rest of the characters were chess pieces, serving a purpose more than truly adding anything to the storyline.
Pacing: The pacing of this book was slow, but the most important parts were rushed and the necessary details glossed over in favor of descriptive prose more befitting of poetry than a novel.
Accuracy of Publisher’s Synopsis: Once again, this book’s synopsis outshines the actual novel.
Resolution: The resolution was decent, but I have to be honest and say I had not the slightest clue what was going on. They were setting sail to go chase after someone who wasn’t even part of the mortal world. It made no sense.
The Good: It took a while, but Ruby finally checked some things off her to-do list. Kai was an entertaining addition to the cast of characters, and I am so grateful for him. If I read the final book, it will only be because he’s there. Some of the events at the end were interesting, but didn’t make much sense when I started to dissect them.
The Not So Good: When I read the summary of the plot, I was so excited to get my hands on the sequel, convinced that the action would pick up. I waited with bated breath to read about the mysterious Sudesia and meet the queen. In my mind, there was a complex web of plots and new characters that held so much potential. I couldn’t have been more disappointed in what actually happened. The main events (the trials) ultimately comprised about thirty of the book’s four hundred pages. What happened in the rest of the book, you ask? Literally nothing. It was a bunch of speculation and a series of pointless verbal sparring matches between the Sudesian Queen and Ruby. By the end, I found myself skimming rather than reading, because what I was reading made very little sense anyhow.
Overall Impression: Ultimately, Ruby accomplishes a few things and learns truths about herself that set up the last novel in the series perfectly. However, after what I had to go through to see her reach those goals, my enthusiasm had waned almost completely.
Would I recommend it? No, I really don’t think I could. I wish I had given up on this one and spent the month-and-a-half that I wasted actively avoiding this book on something I would have enjoyed more.