In this second Empress Chronicles book, Liz and Sisi continue their intertwined journey through time. On the heels of discovering a magical locket in the empress diary, Liz comes to understand its very special power: the wearer must speak the truth. Not only that, but it turns out that there are three lockets, each with their own magic and power.
Meanwhile, Sisi realizes that she’s communicating with a girl who lives 150 years in the future. A girl who knows what awaits her if she marries the emperor: lack of personal freedom and a legacy that will refer to her as the "reluctant empress."
With the world's future hanging in the balance, the two heroines must work together to thwart Lola, whose ambition to rule the Habsburg Empire will rewrite history, and lead to a terrifying new version of reality.
I must preface by saying that I was really excited about this book, but read the first chapter and realised I'd have to go back and read the first. By the time it came at my library, I had forgotten why I was excited about the premise of this book, which could have contributed to why I didn't find the two terribly engaging.
It was challenging for me to get involved with this book because the chapters were extremely short and alternated between the perspective of the two girls. It was hard to distinguish between the voices, and thus when I got wrapped up in one girl's story, I just became confused when all of a sudden I was reading about the other. The plot also moved pretty quickly.
I liked Liz, but I didn't care about Sisi at all, and found myself bored by her chapters and wanting to skim through them to get back to Liz. Sisi seemed like kind of a pushover to me and wasn't terribly active about her own future other than getting Liz's help.
This book included a butterfly effect that simultaneously went too far and not far enough. I didn't quite find it plausible, because it rewrote basically the entirety of recent history, changed border lines and linguistics, etcetera, but it didn't affect Liz's parents meeting and having her about the same times. Since it did decide to rewrite history, I thought there could have been a lot more minor details to show how things had changed to make it believable. That the world just went back to the way it had been prior to events despite the new sequence was also hard to buy.
There were other details I didn't buy also, such as two teenagers just abruptly getting on a plane to the Czech Republic, and later Liz's parents just handing over a ton of money. There were also strange details at points that I found detracted from the story.
I'd perhaps recommend this for particularly young readers able to suspend disbelief more easily, but I just wasn't able to get into this book.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.