I’ve been going back and forth, and then back and forth again over whether to round this up to four or down to three stars. I think I’m settling on three stars because the plot made my head swim, and not in a good way. No one but Deka, Ixa, and perhaps Britta get significant development, so I had very little incentive to actually remember who any of them were, which didn’t help with my confusion. This is very different from the first book, where I thought the characters and their relationships were one of the best parts. Here I was lucky if I remembered who was speaking at any given time. I can’t give four stars to a book that made me say out loud, pretty frequently, “What the fuck is going on?”
With that said, this was still a compelling read. Deka remains an interesting main character, and the world Forna has created, while still confusing, is interesting and unique-seeming. I haven’t read a YA book with this worldbuilding before. I doesn’t feel cookie cutter at all.
The main thrust of the plot here is that it’s been about a year since the beginning of the first book, and Deka is carrying out the Mothers’ war to bring justice back to their world, and basically to bring down the patriarchy. But Deka is having doubts, and things don’t always add up. Now on top of her main mission, there seem to be male Deathshrieks and a male god that the Mothers claim don’t exist, but very much do.
How this book ends proves to me that Forna is letting her imagination take her writing to fun places, but I do wish it wasn’t so stuffed full that it had room to breathe. This is basically non-stop action from beginning to end, and as mentioned above, I only recognized a handful of characters at any given time. Also, the romances stuffed in here were not even half-baked, they were basically raw. Even Deka’s romance with Keita fell completely flat. At this point it would make more sense for Deka to be with Britta over him because they actually have a relationship that shows on the page.
I’m still in for the third book, and for future books from this author, because even though this was messy and confusing, it was messy and confusing in a promising way.
[3.5 stars, rounded down]
Chipping Away at Mt. TBR, July 2022—Book 14/31