Book eight of my challenge, I didn’t quite get to the amount that I wanted but I did manage to cut down my Netgalley shelf a little so small victories.
Scattered by the tides of war, Princess Catherine leads a ragtag band of survivors into the barren wasteland of the Northern Plateau.
With enemies snapping at their heels, they are driven into the strange and deadly tunnels of the demon world. But while Tash dares to go deeper, Catherine must return to the surface to confront a nation in turmoil – and her growing love for Ambrose. On the run from the law, Edyon and March grow closer even as their secrets threaten to tear them apart.
Under attack from all sides, truth becomes the first casualty. But as their deceptions multiply, will the Smoke Thieves’ lies save them or bring disaster?
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As with most series I sometimes find it hard to pick up where I left off especially if there has been a stretch of time between reading the previous book. So that can usually lead to some issues with the pacing, mostly from me as I try to read the book and remember what has happened and where I left all the characters.
Unfortunately, in this case, the start of this book didn’t quite have the same pace that I recall from the end of the last book which made it difficult to get into. It also didn’t help that our main narrators were all together so the slower pace wasn’t really broken up by seeing what one of the other characters were doing.
Thankfully this didn’t last too long, as the story delves deeper into the demon world and the group has to split up, the pace started to really pick up again and I was able to immerse myself into the book. I loved getting to explore the demon world, I had never really thought about it much in the first book but it was fascinating, how the demons live and create their tunnels and more of their kind, it did give me a fresh perspective that I didn’t expect to get. It also added some much needed suspense to the story as I started to fear for the characters that had made it down there but it also added the pleasant kind of tension to some of the relationships.
I still found Catherine and Tash’s chapters the strongest of this book. I loved the constant threat that I felt Catherine was under, she has to play a lot of political games and since she is in the position to have to prove her loyalty this makes the stakes that much higher, which is all set against the backdrop of people being against her because she is a woman wanting to be in a position of power. Tash as ever was always a bit unpredictable, but this time with a bit more vulnerability, it was fitting that she would be the one to explore the demon world further but I was pleasantly surprised of the effect that it had on her and her actions.
In this book March and Edyon’s chapters were a lot stronger, I really enjoyed the chemistry between them and the fact that they were really starting to pull together just to try and survive. I think my issue with Edyon in the first book was that I just found him a bit annoying but actually in this book he does grow a lot as a character and I came to quite enjoy his ability to always find himself in some sort of trouble. I felt like I was on a knife-edge with March’s storyline, it’s hard to say too much but I could really feel the difficulty of his emotions and the suspense as I got closer to the end of the book, my heart was hurting for him at times.
I did find Ambrose a little grating this time around, but I think that may have been more to do with the fact that it felt like he didn’t add as much to the story here as he did in The Smoke Thieves. I’m hoping that with the next book he will get a chance to develop a little more.
I have to admit that whilst I did find I was a little slow to get into The Demon World there came a point that I really didn’t want to put the book down because there was so much going on in the story, a lot of it was so unexpected but just brilliant and I was desperate to discover what would happen for each of the characters by the end. But never could I have imagined how it ended…I think I’m actually still a bit in shock. I need the third book now, the suspense is already killing me.
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