This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
There was a smashing finish to book one so I was under the impression that it was a standalone story, but low and behold there was more to come. I was so enchanted by the first book that I leaped at the chance to read this second one. It picked up where the first book left off giving me a chance to settle back into the story before it got up to speed again. It was a great contribution to the series and lost nothing on the first book.
The story opens with Yara still working to get used to her new powers and responsibilities, her new circumstances and balancing things. She is very conscientious of her duties and worries over troubles that are brewing between her and the other two gorgons, over Treygan not liking the new her, Uncle Lloyd’s precarious health and whether she is really up to the new challenge of filling Medusa’s shoes.
Before she can get too lost in her own mind, a new challenge is presented when it is discovered that Rownan’s wife, Vienna didn’t wait for him, but left years before to find a way to him. She chased after a rumor that she could get back to the human realm by going into the hellish realm of Harte. She was never seen again. Rownan is beside himself and is determined to go after her. Treygan and Yara won’t let him go alone and others think they’re all crazy to make the attempt. Harte is where all the evil and dark things of the world of Rathe were dumped and it will steal a person’s very soul.
Just getting into Harte is their first hurdle and then it’s like an epic, fiendish journey with little hope of success at the end. They all still have hope and determination to find Vienna for Rownan. Hopefully it will be enough.
The plot had the same progression as the first one when it came to its pacing. It started out slow as the story set up for what was to come and then the waves of excitement came. Just when I thought it had reached its final peak, something else would happen and so forth so that I was ready to relax into that bittersweet denouement.
I do have to give a shout out for the fantastic worldbuilding in this one. In the last book, there were the lovely descriptions of the various peoples, the merpeople home below the sea and finally the realm of Rathe where the Sea Monsters call home. In this one, we get more descriptions of Rathe- loved the forbidden apple blossom orchard- and the new realm of Harte. Harte was like a demented Wonderland and just didn’t let up on the craziness and menace. Really good stuff!
The narration is told from Yara, Rownan and Nixie’s perspectives. It was easy to follow who had the story because each change was labeled with their name in a header and it stuck with their voice through the whole chapter. Each voice felt different and I enjoyed their perspectives.
In fact, there was not one character I didn’t like which is quite refreshing really. None of them are perfect and their flaws are quite obvious, but the flaws aren’t annoying. This story was all around enjoyable in that the crises were mostly external in the form of the action, but even the internal stuff when Yara and Treygan argued didn’t run away with the story.
Yes, Yara tends to worry and get stuck in her own head, but she snaps out of it. She’s rather sensible and loyal, conscious of duty and so loving. She’s a bit overwhelmed, but totally understandable. She has a give and take relationship with Treygan. She has all those powers, but his strengths are not as obvious.
Treygan…total cute, hot boy scout type. Loved him! He is the rock that the others depend on even if he’s not the one who saves the day with the big hero act and he’s mostly acting as support and back-up for the others.
Then there’s Rownan. In this book, he is a different selkie. Oh he’s still a brooder. Hey, he misses his wife. He went through so much to get to her and then finds her gone and not gone just anywhere, but gone to the hell realm. He has faith though so he is determined that she is still alive and he needs to rescue her. He needs her desperately and doesn’t see the point if he can’t have Vienna. The easy part is actually finding her; he has to worry what sixteen years in Harte will do to her. I totally have a soft spot for Rownan the bad boy selkie even though he’s not so bad in this one.
Nixie was a fun narrator in ways. She is a total siren in her thinking and just doesn’t get Yara’s behavior and decisions at all. She is convinced that Yara doesn’t value Nixie and doesn’t need her anymore. Nixie has all the volatile emotions and a little larceny in her, but when push comes to shove, she’s the gal you want in your corner. She might not see the same way the others do, but she will do her part. Oh and she totally adores her sprite family and friends as they do her.
Secondary characters were fun to visit with too. Pango and Merrick, Koraline, the other mer people whom I forget their names. And I really liked that new development between Koraline and the human mythology specialist that didn’t get teased out. I am dying of curiosity about that and hope it gets some attention in the next book.
I would say that this one could be put in the hands of any teen. There is action, there is a skirting close to, but not over the line of passion and there is no bad language.
This one would be a good fit for those who love merpeople, selkie, and other mythological people stories or just those who enjoy YA Fantasy Romance.
My thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.