What a bummer of a book. In more than one way! It’s a bummer in that I didn’t like it and it didn’t live up to how good the first one was, and the second to an extent as well. And a bummer because seemingly nothing good ever happens to these characters, only bad things, horrible things, and everyone spends the whole book arguing basically.
The plot was also messy as hell. It supposedly focuses on Yelena and Leif, along with Marrok, Moon Man and one of the Sandseeds named Tauno going after the escaped Cahil and Ferde, the evil magician they caught last book. But that soon snowballs into chasing futilely after the rogue faction of Sandseeds who have been using blood magic to gain power and attempt to take over Sitia. But we don’t know any of that as we go. We know what Yelena knows, and what Yelena knows is not much; not about the political situation, which the author deliberately obscures, and not about her powers, which Moon Man taunts her cryptically about the whole novel, and it was so frustrating! Just teach her about her fucking powers!
So what ended up happening was a constant stream of betrayals, unexpected fights, reversals, anger, and confusion. It wasn’t fun to read about. The light at the end of the tunnel wasn’t enough, when you finally figure out what’s going on, because the book wasn’t skillful enough to make the confusion and negativity bearable while we got to the end.
I’m not sure how exactly I would have fixed this book, I just know I didn’t really enjoy reading it, especially since I read books two and three back to back.
I’ll probably continue on with Snyder’s books (the Glass series following Opal, a secondary character here, is next), but not for long a while.
[2.5 stars, rounding up]