Rating: 3 stars
Definitely a downgrade from the last book. It started out really strong, and a select few storylines were pretty solid all throughout, but towards the end, I started to feel that it wasn’t really going anywhere. It felt like half a story and I was left disappointed, expecting more.
I also wasn’t a fan of the late-in-the-game new villain. I appreciate that this series shows what happens after a revolution, how it isn’t all happy and rainbow sunshine, and the expansion of the world was really nice. Felldust had an awesome vibe to it, though I wish we could have spent more time there, especially through Lucious, who was criminally under-shown. But did we need a new big bad? Or two, honestly, both of which appear once and then never again. They had no presence in the story to justify their existence.
And speaking of good ole Lucious, where was the emotional resonance the last installment had in abundance? I got some of it when Ceres didn’t just accept everything Thanos had done with Stephania, but when I needed it most, it wasn’t there.
And what the heck happened with all the inconsistencies?? It honestly felt like Morgan Rice straight up forgot her first book, because Ceres interacts with Cosmas again and 1) apparently they’ve never met before even though they literally have and 2) the fact that he straight up betrayed her in the first book is simply not mentioned. It hasn’t been mentioned since the moment it happened, actually, and I was patiently waiting for something to come of it but guess not lol
As for a positive, I love Felene. She’s honestly a fantastic character. One of my favorites, and not even of the book; of all time. And she’s surprisingly decent lesbian rep too, which was subtly introduced in the last book and expanded on more here without fanfare and blinking lights announcing “see! I can do LGBTQ+ rep too!” the way I was expecting and the way a lot of traditionally published authors do it. Felene feels natural in every way and I absolutely love her.
Stephania was golden as usual too, and the scenes where they interacted were some of my favorites. Stephania has come so far as a character, and her reverse character arc is so interesting to watch.
Ultimately, it was disappointing but not enough to dissuade me from finishing the series. I’m really intrigued where it’ll go next. It’s entertaining, whether it’s being cringey and stupid or genuinely engaging and exciting. I think I love this series, despite its faults.
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