A round up of some of the books I’ve recently read. These books are both the second in series, there will be spoilers for anyone who hasn’t read the first books.
In Dance of the Red Death, Araby’s world is in shambles—betrayal, death, disease, and evil forces surround her. She has no one to trust. But she finds herself and discovers that she will fight for the people she loves, and for her city.
Her revenge will take place at the menacing masked ball, though it could destroy her and everyone she loves…or it could turn her into a hero.
With a nod to Edgar Allan Poe, Bethany Griffin concludes her tragic and mysterious Red Death series with a heroine that young adult readers will never forget.
This is the second half of the duology that began with The Masque of the Red Death, a book that I really enjoyed. I was really pleased to see that it picks up the story immediately from the end of the first book, this worked well both to grab my attention and to pull me back into Araby’s world.
I found that even though it was about a year since I had read the first book I very quickly remembered who everyone was and how the world worked. Griffin wove reminders neatly into the text so that I never felt like information was there purely to recap the first book. I know that this is always a challenge with sequels, I personally feel this could be held up as an example of it being done well.
There’s plenty of action in this book, but I particularly loved the quieter moments nestled in between the big scenes. Spending time with the characters, seeing their quiet interactions, made me really feel connected to them, and invested in their story. I was going to list a couple of examples, but even now as I start to think there are too many to include.
I was really satisfied with the conclusion to the story. It’s neat without feeling too neat, there’s no magic wand waving, no pretty ribbons and bows, just a believable ending with hope.
Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.
The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.(less)
I have to start this by admitting to being a bit of an idiot. This is the second book in Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy, I adored the first book Shadow and Bone and so put off reading this sequel for a while – scared it wouldn’t live up to my hopes. I was, naturally, entirely wrong and my hopes were entirely satisfied.
The book picks up the story a short while after the events at the end of Shadow and Bone, there’s a brief bit of breathing space to allow the reader to reconnect with Alina and Mal before the tension and action ramps up again. This then continued throughout the book, big bit of action followed by time to regroup before the next big action. I really liked this, it built a real sense that there was something big coming.
I liked the way Alina and Mal’s story and relationship develops throughout the book, it continues to be challenging for the two characters – something I don’t feel I get to read enough of in books. It was really nice to see characters from the first book revisited and developed alongside the introduction of new characters. There are three significant new characters, I loved them all and was really glad to get to know them – the intriguing Sturmhond most of all.
When the aforementioned something big does play out it’s brilliant, and thrilling, and entirely compulsive reading. I was so gripped by it that I read it far too quickly and then went back and read it again at a sensible pace so I could take every last detail in.
I’m so excited for the third and final Grisha book, this time I will be dropping everything to read it as soon as I have a copy in my hands.