It’s been almost an year since I read and adored Dance of Thieves and I have been eagerly waiting to know what’s going happen next in the story of Kazi and Jase. And I’m so happy to be back in the Remnant universe to finish this amazing duology.
I have been in awe of Mary’s writing since the beginning of The Kiss of Deception and one of the main reasons is the masterful world building. The way the author describes the journey the characters take across different landscapes and the various hiding places across Tor’s Watch, I could totally imagine them all in my head and feel myself being a part of it all. Even though all the previous books have always been a bit slow paced and this book is pretty consistent with them, I guess I was too excited to get to the end and didn’t have the patience for the pace. There are a lot of conversations and descriptions which I might be more interested in when I reread this book at my leisure, but I just wanted everything to happen quickly and had to quash my urge to skim read. Despite being the ending of the duology and beginning with that awful cliffhanger from the previous book, I expected this to be much more action packed than it turned out to be – which wasn’t exactly disappointing but I guess it would have been more exciting to see Kazi to show off her Rahtan skills. However, this one turned out to be more contemplative and mostly about how much our characters can endure and what will they do to survive, thanks to which we get to know them way more deeply.
Kazi was a formidable character in the first book but we get to see even more of her strength and survival skills in this one. As an orphan who has never had a family, seeing her transform into someone who cares about Jase’s family was wonderful. And the conviction it takes to go on when surrounded by enemies and not knowing if any friends of hers are alive is very evident in the book and I really appreciated that. My one little gripe though was that a lot of Kazi’s predicament in this book felt similar to that of Lia in The Heart of Betrayal, so I found it a bit predictable and repetitive. Jase on the other hand evolves a lot from not trusting anyone except his blood family to implicitly believing in Kazi, even when it looks otherwise. It was also interesting to see him form bonds with others and learn to work together with them because he is isolated from everyone of his family. Even though both Kazi and Jase are separated for most of the story, their love is the glue that holds it all together, keeping them alive with hope for a better tomorrow.
While I liked watching other side characters we met in the first book like Synové, Wren, Priya, Paxton, Gunner and the other members of the Ballenger clan, the ones who left the most impact were the unexpected villains in this one. I don’t want to mention their names in case they are spoilery, but the main antagonist is cruel, calculating, ambitious and it was so fascinating to see how he planned out everything for years to arrive at the present day. Again though, he felt too similar to the Komizar (even Kazi agrees) and I would have liked if he was a bit different. The others who support him range from ambitious loyalists to plain opportunists, and all of their motivations and actions in various situations made for amazing reading. And how can I not mention that the author fulfilled my wish of seeing cameos of my favorite characters from the original trilogy again and it was all I could have asked for.
To conclude, I just wanna say that this was a wonderful ending to a beloved duology in one of my all time favorite fictional universes. If you like reading fantasies which focus more on the development of characters and the romance and give us a slow paced but unique introduction to the world and magic system, then this series is perfect for you. However, I highly recommend that you start with the original trilogy because even though this duology might work on its own, I think you need to know the original story to truly appreciate the stakes. It has been a delightful journey for me in the Remnant Universe and it’s kinda bittersweet that it’s come to an end. But I know I’ll keep revisiting it!!!