❝ Picture a world where there are no rich and poor. No luxury, but everyone is fed and clothed and cared for. God controls nothing. Books aren't forbidden. Women aren't the lower class. The color of your skin, the circumstances of your birth, these things don't matter. Kindness and humanity are everything. There are no guns, no surveillance, no drugs, no debt, and greed holds no sway at all.❞
I liked the second book more than the first I think. Kelsea is all grown up and we see a much more sinister side of her. There are still lots of questions and open storylines, but it doesn't end with a cliffhanger. I can't wait for the next one!
We pick up the story where the previous book has left it: the Mort army is an imminent threat, ready to burn down Kelsea's kingdom. Furthermore, another storyline emerges, telling us the story of the crossing.
Characters | Spoilers! Skip to writing
There are old and new characters in this second installment. The Queen's guard and her trustees in the Keep are all back. But we do get more insight into lots of them: father Tyler, for one, had a big portion of the storyline (I do like him a great deal and his storyline is to be continued in the next novel). Aisha and Andalie are strong characters: we finally learn Andalie's background story and how she ended up in the Tear. Aisha manages to find a place in the Keep. Other returning characters include the dark figure that helped the Red Queen in the first book and of course the Fetch. The 'dark thing' is not technically a new character, but we do learn a bit about his story. He did something wrong in the past and was cursed for eternity for it. He is not human; that much we can tell. His endgame however is still unknown. The Fetch in this book appears very little and his mysterious persona is still the biggest unknown in the story. The Red Queen's agenda is open in this story and we learn everything there is to learn about her.
One of the new characters is Lilly Mayhew, a woman whose story we learn through Kelsea. Lilly is from the pre-crossing America. She lives a privileged life and paying a high price for it: her husband is constantly raping her and she is completely dependent on him. We follow along her story and her connection to William Tear, the founder of the Tearling.
The writing was different in this book. Lilly's story is entwined with Kelsea's. I liked the change and especially the first time we are introduced to Lilly, I was utterly confused. One thing I wasn't very fond of was the length of each chapter: we had multiple storylines in each one and sometimes I felt like it could be divided more.
Final thoughts - minor spoilers again
I wish the next book was out. The storyline in this one wasn't at all disappointing: I liked the idea of the Crossing and how it was presented. Kelsea turning into a version of the Red Queen wasn't very pleasant to witness. The twist about the Red Queen was anticipated but positively received: it made some of her actions justifiable. Plus, I really like it when there are parallels drawn between the main protagonists but their differences are the ones that define them more. What I didn't understand was why on earth did Kelsea strike that particular bargain with the Queen? Three years is not much. And how is she going to get her jewels back? It would be nice to have another crossing. Although, it would probably turn out like the last one: the world seems to find cruelty no matter how many years pass.
I think the biggest question that the readers are left is: Who is the father???
Read a sample below: