After that unexpected ending in Kiss of Deception, I was very excited to see what was going to happen next. In this book, Rafe spins a web of lies as an emissary of Dalbreck to try to buy some time before help arrives. Lia remains a prisoner (sort of) trying to play the game for surviving in the kingdom of Venda. Kaden is still in love with her and hopes that he will be able to convince her to return his feelings now that she will get to see him at his home base. The Komizar is an evil, manipulative villain who toys with Lia to make her submit to his machinations.
Lia undergoes great transformation in this book. Though the Komizar parades her around his people to manipulate her gift to gather support for himself, she truly gets to know the ordinary people, bonds with them and begins wondering about her role in the future of Venda. The Song of Venda and her gift give her more proof that she indeed has to save the Vendans from becoming prey to the Komizar’s lust for power. She becomes more sure of her gift, learns to be compassionate towards everyone and makes relationships with everyone around her while also trying everything she can to protect Rafe.
Kaden tries his best to protect Lia from any harm but he struggles to balance his love for Lia and Venda and his loyalty towards the Komizar. We get to see a different softer side of Kaden and learn about his cruel childhood. Lia starts to care for him more too but his expectations of love never waver. His choices at the end shatter his whole life but I can’t help but love him for that.
Rafe is the same sweet cinnamon roll that I am in love with but he is so much more here. He is Prince Jaxon, acting as an emissary, curbing all his warrior instincts and his love to ensure that they survive and make it home. He is so smart and intelligent and already feels like he would make a good King. But what I love most about him is his all consuming love for Lia. It is so true and boundless and I was waiting for the few and far between scenes of them being together. They make such a beautiful couple and all I could wish for was that they could be together despite the world going to hell. The ending broke my heart and I was left weeping and searching frantically through my heap of books for The Beauty of Darkness.
The secondary characters are amazing as usual. Aster, Yvet, Zekeiah, Efferia – all make Lia understand the plight of the ordinary Vendans who she comes to love like her own. Rafe’s friends are awesome too with their crazy escape plans. The one scene between Jeb and Lia is so heartwarming and there were so many such emotional scenes throughout the book accentuated by the beautiful writing. Rafe as usual has some of the most loveliest lines that tug your heartstrings.
The ending left me both devastated and hopeful and I couldn’t wait another moment before starting the finale. This was an awesome sequel and I loved it as much as the first one. But my love for the characters grew even more and I can’t believe I just have one more book to read about them. Ohhh I am going to miss them so much!!!
Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️