I am not rating either of the second two books in this trilogy, and here is a review length treatise on why that is not at all actually a review:
Sometimes you make a mistake and then instead of admitting it, you just double down. Or, you know it’s a mistake and you double- and triple down anyway. This is both of those in one instance.
I read the first book in this (well-written! imaginative! sexy!) series back in 2015 after lovely Malin gave it to me in a book exchange. I should have immediately read books two and three. Or, at least within months. (The mistakes made here were legion.) Instead, I leisurely collected books two and three from used bookstores over the next several years, and then let them linger on my shelves also for years, figuring someday I’d pick it back up and enjoy. I also in the back of my mind knew the longer I waited meant I would probably have to re-read because my brain is no longer a steel trap for fiction. I ignored this back of the head knowledge and allowed myself to get distracted by shinier (smaller) books.
Fast forward to 2020 when I was planning the first quarter of my 2021 TBR, when I somehow decided this was it, this was the year I finally needed to finish Phèdre’s Trilogy. I also for some reason decided I wasn’t going to re-read book one despite barely remembering anything, and KNOWING going in that I felt emotionally distant from the characters. This was the second mistake. Here are the rest in order:
*Knowing within twenty pages that I was helplessly lost and emotionally distant, a truly terrible combination when reading a book.
*Instead of capitulating and scheduling a re-read of book one for later in the year, I then decided to switch to the audiobook to see if that would make it better or easier. It did. Slightly. It was easier for me to make the decision to actually put it on rather than picking up a huge daunting book I was emotionally divorced from. But I still didn’t really care. And also Anne Flosnik, one of the truly strangest narrators in the business, was doing the narration. I actually weirdly loved her strange performance of the first book in Robin Hobb’s Liveship Traders series, but also switched to hard copies for the second two books in that series, so.
*After having to force my way through book two, instead of then stopping and scheduling a re-read of books one and two maybe for 2022 or even later at this point, I decided, no, let’s just keep going! And let’s do that audio thing again!
*Literally ten minutes into the first book I knew I wasn’t into it, and was actively starting to resent having to listen to it. Did I stop?
*No, I did not.
So, that whole thing, hours of listening, was a complete waste. I am going to have to revisit this entire series in several years (at least three at this point so I can forget my resentment). I really do want to do it justice, and nothing about my approach here did that. I enjoyed the first book so much!
So that is what is happening in my head right now. Have a nice day!