Rating: 4 stars
This really felt more like 3 stars but I rated the first book 3 stars and this was way better than it so I guess a 3.5 is more accurate. So for official reasons, 4 stars will do.
I definitely liked the premise and atmosphere more than the story itself. The characters improved a ton from the first book (considering the fact that I either didn’t care about them or lowkey hated them before). Like, Runajo was completely ridiculous in the first book and Juliet was a stupid robot, while Romeo was sweet but boring and Paris was an inconsistent wimp. But I really felt for all of them in this, and liked Juliet and Romeo together. Paris was a bit less than I wanted but that would have been fixed with just a few more scenes with him, and what I got was perfectly fine. Their struggles really moved me in this. I legit shed a few tears, which even books I thought were good sometimes don’t do. So it earned that, at least.
The atmosphere and scene setting were fantastic, and I loved the lore. Everything with the land of the dead was iconic and awesome and felt like something I’d write. It really had a mythical/folkloristic vibe that I loved. And the aesthetic was just on point. If it weren’t for some pacing issues, I would have rated the worldbuilding 5 solid stars.
And related to that, the plot and execution of it really faltered in this. By the middle of the book, it felt like it should have been ending, and I guess the main conflict just wasn’t as intense as this kind of story needed. Like, the world was literally going to end and it felt like a mild inconvenience because it had already almost ended 150 pages before. I liked the necromancer as a villain WAY more than what I ultimately got and felt like he was taken out of the picture just way too soon to hold any narrative tension. If it hadn’t happened this way, I probably would have loved this. As it was, this book was boring and awkward and felt like it was tripping over itself. This duology was a huge disappointment from this author.
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