Listen, these books are damn good. I don’t know what to tell you!
If Lost Stars was about the Greywick siblings discovering the chaos and pitfalls of fated purpose, this installment is about that same approach to fated love.
Because it turns out:
1) The problem with magical Love at First Sight is that it doesn’t care if you live wildly incompatible lives, and also he’d readily murder you if he knew your biggest secret.
2) The problem with enemies-to-lovers is that you can’t fucking trust this guy.
(And also he’s acting like he’s maybe got some romantic baggage with that evil dead god you resemble. Goddamn it!)
3) The problem with subtly seducing your most calculating frenemy to mine his secrets is that it gives you way too much time to catch feelings for him for real.
Meanwhile, you’re all stuck at magic military academy that is trying to turn you into godly figureheads for a corrupt theocracy. So, like, it gets worse!
It’s not perfect: the pacing is still all over the place, the battle at the end is messy and way too hard to follow, the illustrations are still an unnecessary distraction, the self-pub quality gap is pretty evident, and goddamn somebody needs to just be nice to Tim for five fucking minutes. But still!
Everything comes to a head at a lavish all-night Halloween dance, with our heroes each dressed up as the thing they both want and fear most, with those costumes magically fading by sunrise.
Which is just fucking top notch symbolism for this installment and the series as a whole, with it’s overarching theme of, essentially:
Will anyone still love you when they know who you are?
I want the next book immediately, but it’s not out yet, and I’m having a conniption about it!
Cannonball Read 15 BINGO: Picture This
(because the image of each of our heroes in their masquarade costumes – each becoming a little bit drunk on power and also a little bit scared of themselves – and then that illusion vanishing in the harsh light of day is just too good. Is it a photograph? No. But it sure is an image that doesn’t show you everything!)