While I enjoyed the first book, The Falconer, I have to be honest and say that I did not love it. With this second book in the series, I had hoped for more of a hook, edge, or reason to hang on with the story. The writing is straightforward, if simplistic, and the characters and plot even more so. So while not terrible, there’s not a lot to hold interest in this serviceable ‘YA-by-numbers’ novel.
Story: Aileana emerges from a degrading Fae captivity to find the human world completely changed. Gone is the Edinburgh she knew; instead, she is horrified to find a desolate landscape of death and destruction. She will have to pool her resources together along with love interest Kieran to fight Lonnrach and restore her world.
First and foremost, problematic for me was the earnest storytelling. Too much is overchoreographed; from the constant reminders that everyone is in love with Aileana to mini battle scenes just to make sure we see her as tough. Sadly, a lot of those battles are quixotic; kind of pointless and there just to battle rather than further the plot or cause tension. I could have used a lot more subtlety to show that Aileana had strength of character and mettle; we don’t have to have her foolishly charging into every battle. A little brains goes a long way in a story like this and her actions were written to make her completely impulsive and without any kind of logic reasoning capability.
I would have preferred to see character development in Aileana as a result of the imprisonment but she was just as annoyingly over-impulsive and feisty as before she was trapped. There’s a bit of ‘woe is me’ but it’s all tell and no show – she’s quipping and looking all earnest/google eyed at Kieran shortly after the escape. It negated much of the emotional impact and I just didn’t find myself engaged or believing the story line as a result. I don’t want to read, “Oh, does he love me or not?!?” right after someone just escaped repeatedly tortured for months.
For me, both books are missing a bit of spark – better writing to flesh out the characters more and make them better resemble real people. It’s all operating on such a shallow level that there just isn’t enough intrigue to really keep me engaged. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.