*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*
Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5
I don’t know if I’ve been meta-analyzing books for too long, but I found myself willfully resisting the urge to do so with this book. What I mean is that when I started reading it (more or less directly after finishing the first book in the series, Hunter), I found myself spending a lot of time trying to decide if I liked the way Lackey was trying to give enough background information for people jumping in cold vs. hampering the plot developing. From there ,I found myself trying to decide if the pacing of the overarching story was well done. While I have answers to both of these things now (if you are curious, I think she kept it about as short as she could and I actually loved the pacing since it didn’t seemed rushed, respectively) I found I had a lot more fun reading this book when I just took it for the story it is without trying to over think it. And I have to say the result was one of the more immersive experiences I’ve had with a book in a while.
I get scared with sequels, particularly of YA, when I like the first book in a series. A lot of times, authors seem to use the first story to build a great world in the opener and then just hit the turbo button to too-fast-developing-not-super-thought-out plot in book two. This book absolutely did not do that. At one point I found myself thinking that this book can feel at times feel like it is just an extension of adventures from part one, which some may see as a negative but I really enjoyed. This is not to say that the larger plot does not advance. There are a lot of pretty important developments and the conflicts between the different government programs that are theoretically all supposed to be working together is particularly interesting, however, this information is spread out throughout the book with fun “hunts” and social activity thrown in to it feels like a much more natural progression of story than other books I have read.
The conceit that was hinted at in the previous book that all of the Othersiders are represented in some way in human folklore or mythology is expanded upon in this book in an incredibly interesting way which opens up for even more questions about the worlds relationship with the Otherside. I also found the consistency of magic in this universe to be very satisfying. There is something almost scientific about the way magic usage is explained in this world and it leads to new discoveries in magic to be satisfying as a reader rather than random and like a crutch of some type to advance the plot.
Overall I was pleasantly surprised that I liked this book even more than the first one. All the things I said in my previous review remain true, especially that the characters seem to act the way people really would which is something I love particularly in YA. Now I just hope that the series does not suffer from my other largest concern which is not knowing how to end which retroactively makes me not enjoy the previous books as much, but for now I can confidently say that I cannot recommend this series enough if you are at all interested in YA fantasy!