perhaps you remember how—despite that cover, i wasn’t crazy about For the Wolf, which promised dark-fantasy-riding-hood vibes only to bait-and-switch a beauty-and-the-beast-romance on an unsuspecting me.
however, after all the trembling jaws and darkening eyes were dispensed with; after all the smooches were smooched, the book veered abruptly, ending on a darkish note for a darker character, which seemed to presage a more interesting (to me) second book.
SO, i went into this cautiously optimistic, hoping that maybe it was a 2 books/2 sisters/2 tones juxtaposition: where the first one was romancin’ redarys and the follow-up would be necromancin’ with neve; the “jagged thing” unlikely to waste any time on flirting and swooning and last seen in a location and situation unlikely to contain a flourishing romance plot.
but somehow there was MORE romance in this second book! so many couples, so much sighing and pining*, so many characters murmuring against each others’ lips, where everyone’s so overcome by emotion all the time that their voices are forever ‘rough’ and ‘harsh’ and ‘bladed’ and i’m already rolling my eyes at these recurring motifs and then we learn that magic is most efficiently transferred between people by kissing and—oh, brother, that’s me realizing it ain’t gonna go the way i’d hoped.
and that’s on me, obviously. people who loved the first book will love this one. regular readers who aren’t all bleh about romance themes and tropes and vocabulary will surely love it.
it’s just not for me. it took me ages get through the thing because i just wasn’t feeling it, and i’d reach for it during “designated reading time” and feel…unenthusiastic and reach for a crossword puzzle book instead. in fact, one day i read a cookbook on the subway home because i just couldn’t face one more hitched-breath, emotion-suppressing standoff.
HOWEVER, i did finish it and i will say that neve is more appealing to me than her twinsie red, who was content to just drift along thru book one without doing anything or asking anything, dragging the reader along through hundreds of pages of easily-remedied ignorance. neve is far more proactive, and there was at least one time where i said “oh my god badass” out loud. because she was. super badass.
it’s still a romance-fantasy, which is still not my thing, but i’m glad i gave it another shot, because despite all the stuff i find a little silly, the story makes more sense, there are more answers, and it’s certainly darker and creepier than For the Wolf when it’s not busy being distracted by someone’s cheekbones.
*…speaking of pining, …he tasted like cold, like the space between winter pine trees. this is where i dropped the book onto the floor and said “no he fucking didn’t.” and i apologize to the person i’ve promised this ARC to because now it’s hella damaged.