Man, last year when I read the first book in this series, I read it so fast and got so super into it. I was expecting something similar to happen when I picked up book two several weeks ago, but my experience was pretty much the exact opposite.
I read the first one in practically one sitting over the course of one day. This one took me weeks to finish, and I had to force myself to pick it up. While reading, I enjoyed myself, but I was never fully able to sink into the storyworld. Also, in the first book I found the whole book equally interesting, but this time I was resentful every time the narrative moved away from Iseult and Aeduan. I just felt so blah about Safi and Merick’s chapters, and this is supposed to be Merick’s book! That’s not good. It also doesn’t help that Safi and Iseult are separated here, and their friendship was one of the highlights of the last book.
I honestly don’t know if my ambivalence is my fault or the book’s fault, but it’s probably somewhere in between. It’s been over a year since I read the first book, and I’ve forgotten a ton, but this book should also be accessible and engaging in its own right. Instead, it felt uneven and disjointed to me.
I will say that it got better towards the end, but it was well past the halfway mark before I felt invested enough in the book to do my usual rush-to-the-finish reading sprint. I will definitely be reading the last two books in the series, but I hope they are more like the first book than they are this one. I knew the first one wasn’t exactly the best things I’ve ever read, but I had so much fun it didn’t matter. The cliches and the plot holes and all the other stuff I overlooked because FUN. The fun was mostly missing here, and I want it back.