by Sabaa Tahir
This is the second book in what’s called the Ember quartet. And in this novel, we continue following Laia and Elias as they try escape Serra and the Martials that are after them. In this book we also follow Helene, who is Elias’s best friend and a Mask as she’s forced to hunt down her friend.
I think this is a solid continuation of the series, however I do find that it’s a bit slow and I found myself skimming a lot to get to the action. That’s probably just a personal thing, but I like books with fast pacing and lots of action. I don’t enjoy lingering on feelings and boring stuff.
There are also quite a lot of brutality that sometimes just seems to be there for shock value rather than something necessary for the story. It’s not like I’m turned off by the brutal descriptions and all that, but it’s more like they are too shallow and happens too often for them to really mean anything. When a character gets tortured, both physically and mentally, I want to care, I want to be horrified. But when they get out of one kind of torture just to fall into the next the effect diminishes and eventually you just end up reading about kids being brutally murdered or tortured and it doesn’t mean anything.
I was unfortunately also surprised by a love-triangle in this book that I honestly didn’t think would happen. I really didn’t find it believable that Laia would fall for this other guy, but then again, she’s still kind of childish and naïve to the point I think she’s ten years old. Not a fan unfortunately.
However, it’s a solid book and it builds up nicely for the next one. So, I’ll give it 3,5/5 stars and happily continue the series.