Kingdom of Fire #2
by Jessica Cluess
Published on September 19, 2017 by Random House Books for Young Readers
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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The magicians want her to lead.
The sorcerers want her to lie.
The demons want her blood.
Henrietta wants to save the one she loves.
But will his dark magic be her undoing?
In this seductive and explosive second book in the Kingdom on Fire series, Jessica Cluess delivers her signature mix of magic, passion, and teen warriors fighting for survival. Hand to fans of Victoria Aveyard, Sarah J. Maas, and Kiersten White.
Henrietta doesn't need a prophecy to know that she's in danger. She came to London to be named the chosen one, the first female sorcerer in centuries, the one who would defeat the Ancients. Instead, she discovered a city ruled by secrets. And the biggest secret of all: Henrietta is not the chosen one.
Still, she must play the role in order to keep herself and Rook, her best friend and childhood love, safe. But can she truly save him? The poison in Rook's system is transforming him into something monstrous as he begins to master dark powers of his own. So when Henrietta finds a clue to the Ancients past that could turn the tide of the war, she persuades Blackwood, the mysterious Earl of Sorrow-Fell, to travel up the coast to seek out strange new weapons. And Magnus, the brave, reckless flirt who wants to win back her favor, is assigned to their mission. Together, they will face monsters, meet powerful new allies, and uncover the most devastating weapon of all: the truth.
This. Book. I have so many words and none all at once. I suppose that’s what happens when you read one of your most anticipated titles of the year.
Y’all may recall how much I adored the first in this series, A Shadow Bright and Burning. It was, by far, one of my favorite YA fantasies of 2016 and the wait for A Poison Dark and Drowning was terribly long and emotionally painful. But I digress.
Where the first book had a stronger focus on the friendships forming between Henrietta and the other sorcerers as she learned more about her particular talents, this book fell on the darker side of things. The Ancients are waiting and the sorcerers are short on people. The stakes are just plain higher but the events of the world around them seemed to be less important compared to the relationships between Henrietta and the others.
I didn’t like this book as much as the first. When I finished it, my emotions were just dead. A lot happened but not at the same time. The characters mentally went through the ringer though events of the story going on around them progresses slower. But after letting my thoughts stew for a bit, I realized that I didn’t feel the same clinging desperate need for book 3. Don’t get me wrong, I loved this book. . . but not as much as the first.
Much of this comes down to the characters. Cluess made a push for the romances in Henrietta’s life (even though nothing really HAPPENED romantically. . .). There’s Rook who I never really liked to begin with and liked even less this time around. Then there’s Blackwood which was a ship I could have gotten behind but. . . he changed. Characters change, for sure, but I didn’t like the direction he took. Controlling, dominating, almost possessive in nature. Whatever happens next, I want Henrietta away from him. Still Team Henrietta/Magnus all the way.
But Henrietta is still my fave. I wish I’d seen more of her curiosity and intellect in this book but such is life. Her and a new female character (y’all will love her) are going to be powerhouses in this world, I can tell, and I am ALL there for that.
It’d be nice, though, if the story wasn’t predictable.
The characters felt a bit fake this time around because we know they’re smart from book 1 but they made one stupid choice after the next when the answers seemed so obvious. Maybe it was just me, but APDAD felt more like a trope-y YA fantasy rather than the amazing debut I read in ASBAB.
All in all, though I know I had a few more critical remarks than raves, I did love this book, devouring it in hours, and can’t wait for book 3. It just suffered a bit from sequel syndrome but I have full faith in Cluess to bring the heat in the next installment!