As you may know I loved the first book in this series, even though I had some issues with it, and I was lucky enough to get to beta read this book recently; my first! While I still have a few issues, I can't help but love these characters. What can I say, I'm an emotional reader, lol.
The story picks up where we left off in [b:King Hall|18102827|King Hall (Forever Evermore, #1)|Scarlett Dawn|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1371696532s/18102827.jpg|25419642] with the battle raging all around our main characters. After they eventually make their way to the haven known as King Cave, things start to get really interesting.
A few important points to know about this book is that it's long, as in, it could be easily broken up into two books. It doesn't feature all four of the main characters, but rather focuses on Ezra and Lilly. There still isn't as much focus on the political turmoil wreaking havoc in the world.
Hitting on the first point, if you're like me, and love a character driven story that reads like "a-day-in-the-life-of", then the length isn't too much of an issue. Since I didn't read the final version I can't say if the few issues I had with this will be smoothed out or not, but all in all, I like a long book if it's filled with people I care about. Lilly and Ezra finally - thank you! - made strides towards ending their painfully obvious sexual tension, and I loved it. I love sex in my books, I've never beaten around the bush with that, and especially considering that the first book didn't read with the maturity needed to pull off the "new adult" sub-genre, it was great to finally see the story take on the adult tones I wanted. This is definitely not a story for a younger audience.
My second gripe about this story, and maybe my biggest actually, is that we don't get to see enough of Jack and Pearl. They went through a traumatic event at the end of the first book, and I wanted to see more of their lives in the aftermath of that, but they're very much on the sideline. It made me sad because it was the four of them that I fell in love with, and while I can't get enough of Ezra (and Lilly, lol), I wanted to spend time with them as well. Instead of four friends being really close, we have two groups of two, with less intimacy between both. There was a not-quite-surprising-but-wonderful twist involved in the friendship dynamic that I very much missed out on witnessing. I didn't want to know the way I did, I wanted to experience it too. The fact that they're not as involved is a detriment for me, but it doesn't make the story any less fantastic, it just makes it different from the way it started out as. I hope that makes sense... Basically, I missed them a great deal, but I still really liked the story.
As far as the political upheaval, I was really bothered by the whole thing in the first book, and that didn't exactly abate in this one, but after reading this one, I think I understand better why the author chose not to have as much focus on it. The war, and reasons for it, are still very much in the background, almost like an afterthought, but it's just the nature of this particular story. It's a conflict, but it's not the central conflict moving the plot. It didn't annoy me quite as much this time as it did last time, and I hope the synopsis reflects this better this time around. I can't help but wonder at the Mysticals for putting up with the humans though, since they have such greater powers, and I wish the reasons for the humans hating the Mys' made more sense, but again, I still loved the story, so it's clearly not something I got too hung up on, lol.
I really love the author's style, and the characters she's crafted. I think that this story focuses on love, adversity, friendship, and the power of knowing yourself and what you value. There is a lot of humor in here that had me giggling out loud, as well as a few times where I felt like my heart was breaking. There's a scene towards the end that got me good :(. I'm not sure how many novels are planned in the series, but I'm in it for the long haul.
****And now, because the author is awesome, I get to treat you all to a teaser from the book! I love me some teasers, lol. I liked this scene in particular because I think it was one of the turning points for Lilly in being seen as worthy of her title. I wish you could hear the bomb she drops on them after this!!****
The video started again on the golden cube, and I closed my eyes, listening to the magnified sound. Once more, my head cocked as their leader got to the particularly loud rant. I heard it again, and threw up a hand. “Elder Harcourt, stop.” The sound went off, the video pausing, as my eyes flew open to the Elders I had spoken with. “Did you hear it?”
As one, all three of them shook their heads.
“Shit,” I muttered, pushing up from my seat, staring at the image. Feeling incredibly stupid, three more powerful men not having heard it, but still, I know I had heard it. “I think…” I stalled, clearing my throat, jaw clenching as everyone stared at me expectantly. “Okay, I think I know two things about the man in question.” I stared at the image, and not the intimidating Elders and Kings around me. “One, I believe the man in question is Philip Masterson.”
I saw everyone still around the table, and I quickly explained for those who weren’t in the know. “He’s a Congressman in the United States. I know him personally, since he tried to rape me a few months ago. I recognize his voice.” My gaze went to King Kincaid’s wide gaze. “It’s him. I know it is. And it also explains the timing of his disappearance.”
“Goddamn motherfucker,” King Nelson muttered, eyes solid on the screen. A pause. “Antonio, you followed him. Did you see any signs that it could be him?”
Antonio’s gaze was glowing a bit as he stared at the screen. “I saw nothing out of the ordinary at the time, but Lil’s right. It’s his voice now that she mentioned it.” Golden eyes swung to me, his grin feral. “I believe you have something else to say.”