As I thought after finishing An Ember in the Ashes, I couldn’t read any other book till I binged this series and so I started this sequel immediately. And just like the first book, this was almost a single sitting read because I couldn’t put it down at all.
I felt the pacing of the book slowed down a little this time; not that it’s any less tense or intense, just more of a slow journey. The twists and turns are also much more pronounced, and I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop all the time. And as I was reading quite fast, I didn’t stop to think of what was coming, so every reveal was very surprising and I really enjoyed the experience. The world is still pretty bleak and hopeless, and I can’t even imagine what more horrors are in store in the next book.
This time, I really can’t choose whom I liked more. Laia is as determined as ever to get her brother out of the prison, but seeing her fight and suffer and see the destruction of her loved ones and lose confidence in herself, but also finding her strength once more, was great to read about and I admired her so much. Elias is more tortured than ever, but I totally did not see the turn his story took and I’m quite perplexed with what’s gonna happen next with him. Everyone seems to take advantage of his empathy but I hope it’ll always prove to be his strength. Helene on the other hand is put to every test possible and I’m amazed at her will power and loyalty that she still holds on. She is fighting on all sides while trying to keep herself safe and sane, and after what happened towards the end, I’m even more curious to see how she changes and what destruction she will cause to her enemies.
In the end, this was as engaging as the previous book and I’m so glad I got to read the books back to back. And right now, I’m rushing to pick up the next one because I can’t wait.