I absolutely loved the first book. It had the feel of The Night Circus and Caraval all twisted into an enchanting bundle for me to dive into. The ending stabbed me right in the feels and I wasn’t able to breathe until I got my hands on this book.
This book, though kind of a letdown compared to its predecessor, was as charming as the first. We have stone soldiers, magical pairs, ashamed princes, bossy princesses, fire redheads, and enchanted weather.
But still, not as mind-blowing.
*some obvious spoilers that are obvious because the book goes on and it’s right there in the blurb*
So, we were left with a bomb about a forgotten prince and a possible bastard prince.
After some creepy and unsettling situations, we have an angry boy trying to get back what he believes is rightfully his, we have a boy who isn’t sure he is prepared for the responsibility thrown at him, and a cuffed magician girl who is completely let down with the prize of winning the game.
Honestly, I really did enjoy this book. It had the magic and the characters were good but nothing really shook me like in the first one. It was like the first one I was hit with a 60-foot wave and tossed around like a hacky sack and then this one I was just in a pleasant forest with the butterflies flapping around my ears.
And I need that drama. I need the wild ride and the rooting for something and I wasn’t really rooting for anything, just waiting to see what happened with a steady heart.
I would say this duology is a good one. I wouldn’t say it is a phenomenally, heart-stopping one, but I would say it is an enjoyable ride for someone who likes Russia and magic.