The thin membrane of magic separating the human and demonic planes has been destroyed. Nightrender, the immortal warrior of the gods, must find a way to rebuild it, but Hanne—the serpent girl, always too cunning to be trusted, too hungry for power—has become High Queen, and is too consumed with ambition to cooperate. Meanwhile, Rune—married to Hanne, but in love with Nightrender—is lost in the realm of demons after a disastrous battle, wandering alone in a twisted landscape of mercury seas, black-glass spires, and winds blowing ash … In this second and final installment of the Nightrender duology, the circle will close, and the world will be saved—or burnt to a cinder.
If you have not read the first book in this series, don't pick this one up until you do. You will be lost AND you will be spoiled. Plus the first book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger (so I'm happy I waited closer to the release date of this book to read both).
While I usually love Jodi Meadows and her writing, I will be honest and say I had a very hard time with the first book of this series. I was hoping the second book would be a bit better for me, but I found it was not really so.
The book picks up where the first left off and the king is dead. Now we must shout "long live the queen"!
Let's start with what I did like. The cover is gorgeous. I love the artwork and as with the first book, the cover makes total sense once you've read the story. And the overall theme of the story line was satisfying. But that was about where I stopped really loving things.
The book starts with a bang, as I was expecting given the ending of the first book. And all seemed great until about 25% in when it just started to drag for me. I already know the world, that was built well in the first book. And if this series had more than two books in it, I'd say this one suffered from middle book syndrome. It did pick up about just over half way through but I think the slowness really tinged my like for what could come after.
Nightrender, Hanne, Ruin, all characters we know. There was romance where we would expect it, between Rune and Nightrender, but I honestly didn't feel that connection much, even in the first book. The relationship just did not build for me, and this book didn't change that. Definitely more of a slow burn and the romance is not the center of the story, which is nice to see in a fantasy. I didn't like Hanne in the first book and this one was no different. Though we do get a redemption arc for her which I know would satisfy many. I kind of like a good villain who stays that way, though. Especially with a character I don't particularly love anyone.
One thing I saw mentioned by a few, and I tend to agree with, is possibly having a prequel where we get more background on Nightrender. I really feel like that might help pull things together.
Maybe it was the pacing, maybe it was the plot, maybe it was my disconnection with the characters but I just could not get myself to love this story. This does not preclude me from reading stories from Meadows in the future, as I do love her writing. But for me, this was not her best.
I also felt the ending was a bit rushed, almost as if Meadows kind of ran of out things to do and just needed to end it all. I can see where there is room for this world to have more stories. Though I'm not sure I would be drawn to reading them.
Overall, I do think most fans of Meadows will enjoy this, and it seems I may be in the minority with where my thoughts lie. 3 stars overall.
Like many writers, I’ve always wanted to do this professionally. You know, after I decided against being an astronaut.
I have a special fondness for small bookstores and libraries, both which helped turn me into a happy reader. Once I found the books where magic and other fantastic elements were real, I was hooked.
My hobbies, aside from spending all my money on books and cat treats, revolve around yarn. I love crocheting, knitting, and spinning. In addition to several hand spindles, I share my office with two spinning wheels, named Rose and Gideon.