Note: It’s best to experience Book 1 before diving into this book.
I really enjoyed Book 1 and Book 2 doesn’t disappoint. In fact, I may have enjoyed this book a bit more. The teens from Book 1 are in the wind for the most part. Some are in hiding, some are still dealing with evil characters, and some question whether they should join the rebellion. This tale reminded me a little of The Hunger Games (teens rebellion against the ruling government), Game of Thrones (scions of the ruling houses duking it out), and X-Men (these kids got skills but desperately needed a trainer). All around, an excellent mix.
Each of the kids that survived Book 1 undergo a bit of a journey in this book. In Book 1 they were all basically a result of their powerful houses, the values impressed upon them (or smacked into them) as kids. In this story, they are away from those influences and have to work stuff out on their own. Bianca and Anastasia were two of my favorites. While there is a tie between them, they each grew up very differently and have different battles. Initially, I really wanted to hate Anastasia but by the end of the story, I found her to be a very sympathetic character and a minor hero.
Rhys! Oh, my poor lad! Rhys will need therapy after this book. He’s our scholar with all his book learning, so of course it was easy to engage with his character. In some ways, he’s the glue that binds our little band of up and coming heroes. Everyone likes or respects him and doesn’t want to see him harmed.
There’s an addition of these sea-faring folk (Tridente, if I recall correctly) in the later half of the story and I really enjoyed the time spent with them. I can see potential for them in future tales. The brother & sister brought some much needed levity to the story as well as their own unique powers.
The villains are quite villainous, and for the most part, are archetypes. Sometimes, since the true villains were so very obvious, I just wanted to kill them and move on with the more interesting parts of the story. Yet they do play their part in the plot. The Hyena was the most unpredictable because you never knew if he would leave someone alive or not, and his reasons for doing so. The Doctor was a broken, driven, mad scientist that I looked forward to seeing put down.
While there were a few times where someone or something conveniently swooped in to save the plot, I still really enjoyed this novel. Even with my minor quibbles, I give this tale 5/5 stars for sheer entertainment value.
The Narration: Jon Eric Preston did a great job with this story. All his character voices are distinct and his female characters sound like ladies. He also did a great job with the range of emotions the characters go through in this novel. His voice for the Hyena was absolutely creepy (as it should be) and I also liked how he did the mechanical lisp for The Doctor. Preston also took the time for the little touches, like making an echo-y voice sound that way, or when 2 people speak at the same time, it really sounds like that. An excellent performance and recording all around. 5/5 stars.
I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Kyle Prue. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.