[A quick note: This is a duology (which I didn’t realize). Discovering this story was a pleasant surprise. I don’t think I’d have read it, had I not gotten approved to review it on NetGalley. So I’m really happy for that, because it was worthwhile. ]
“𝑯𝒐𝒘 𝒉𝒂𝒅 𝒔𝒐 𝒎𝒖𝒄𝒉 𝒄𝒉𝒂𝒏𝒈𝒆𝒅 𝒊𝒏 𝒐𝒏𝒍𝒚 𝒂 𝒄𝒐𝒖𝒑𝒍𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝒅𝒂𝒚𝒔? 𝑰 𝒔𝒉𝒐𝒖𝒍𝒅 𝒉𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒃𝒆𝒆𝒏 𝒖𝒔𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒐 𝒊𝒕 𝒃𝒚𝒏𝒐𝒘, 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒚𝒆𝒕 𝑰 𝒘𝒂𝒔 𝒄𝒐𝒏𝒕𝒊𝒏𝒖𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒚 𝒔𝒉𝒐𝒄𝒌𝒆𝒅 𝒃𝒚 𝒉𝒐𝒘 𝒒𝒖𝒊𝒄𝒌𝒍𝒚 𝒍𝒊𝒇𝒆 𝒄𝒐𝒖𝒍𝒅 𝒔𝒉𝒊𝒇𝒕 𝒄𝒐𝒖𝒓𝒔𝒆 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒑𝒆𝒐𝒑𝒍𝒆𝒄𝒐𝒖𝒍𝒅 𝒃𝒆 𝒂𝒍𝒕𝒆𝒓𝒆𝒅.” —Sara B Larson
MY SYNOPSIS: Paladin are once again living within the citadel and sisters Inara and Zuhra are reunited, but it has come at great cost. Barloc has stolen Inara’s immense power, leaving behind a gaping hole that continues to threaten her life. She feels empty, and questions whether life is still worth living. But Barloc hasn’t stopped there. His power grows, and he continues to take the lives of other Paladins. Inara and Zuhra must find a way to defeat him while navigating the treacherous path of self-discovery that leads to deeper bonds with each other and unexpected love.
MY THOUGHTS: This was a satisfying end to an enchanting fantasy. It was sweet, fulfilling, and had the perfect fairytale feel. I could not put it down. Part of this was because the chapter POVs switch between the sisters, and each leaves on a cliff hanger that has you racing on to the next. What I loved was all the romance woven into Zuhra and Inara’s stories, their character growth, and the way the events of the plot challenged them.
The romance stood out the most for me. I was pleasantly surprised by how much more romance there was compared to the first book. And if you know me, you know I loooove my fantasy plots with TONS of romance. This did not disappoint. While it is YA, the spice level was done well. There weren’t any sex scenes, nothing beyond kissing, yet, some of the romantic scenes were still spicy (in a sweet way—since this has a fairytale feel to it). Better still, both sisters had their own romantic stories. So it was like a two-for-one. Double the romance fun!
I also liked the parallel this book created compared to the last. In the first book, it is Zuhra who goes through the portal. This time, it’s Inara. I was so thrilled that she got to see all the wonders that her sister saw before her. Those were some of the most exciting chapters for me, especially because it allowed her some time with Louk, and for their developing feelings. And on that note, their romance was definitely UNEXPECTED!!! I did not predict that AT ALL!! And it didn’t happen until after the 50% mark, but it felt so right, and so needed. So satisfying.
The sisterhood bond is still prevalent throughout this story. But this time, the bond is challenged as Zuhra and Inara must face their own obstacles. Yet, even though the bond is tested, they still love each other and they still always come back to each other for support. This created a feel-good aspect that I adored! By the end, I found myself tearing up with some of the final chapters. It is definitely going on my favorite duologies list! I think it’s a great story conclusion and a must read for anyone who likes enchanting fantasy stories with romance woven into them. MY RATING: 4.5/5⭐️
A big thank you to NetGalley and TorTeen for an eARC in exchange for my honest review.